Making his way through heavy rain to the Colstons’ property later than night, he finds the disturbing sight of a toddler left home alone. He phones Harry’s sister, Linda Fantasio, who arrives and takes possession of the child. But something about her strikes him as being off-putting, and not quite right.
Cole soon enlists the help of his new constable, Christine Sheridan, in revisiting the accident scene. There they see signs that only reinforce Cole’s suspicions about the crash.
With few obvious clues to go on, however, Cole begins investigating the dead couple’s past and discovers that more than a few people had an axe to grind with the Colstons. Untangling the farmer’s messy dealings leads him to neighbouring landholders with their grievances, horse and cattle traders, the town’s illegal bookmaker and his sidekicks, as well as to the wealthy Kinross family. But buried deepest in the Colstons’ affairs is Harry’s hairdresser sister and his wife Dianne’s down at heel family. When Harry’s will surfaces and makes no mention of his child, everything left instead to Fantasio and Dianne's family, Cole is convinced something is wrong.
But as he tries to tease apart the mystery he is hindered on discovering his new constable is getting too close to one of their suspects. And that he can’t trust his station staff to keep their mouths shut. He soon realises the investigation is his and his alone.
As Cole digs deeper into the Colston mystery he finds family pitted against family, and sees that money drives everyone’s ambitions. An attack aimed at him personally blows away any idea he might have had that the Colstons’ deaths were accidental.
But the reasons behind the Colstons’ deaths are more complicated than Cole first thought, and don’t belong just to the present. The more questions he asks, the more he understands that the Colston family has secrets buried deep in the past.
But answers don’t give themselves up easily. Was the motive for the Colston killings financial or personal? And was Harry or Dianne the real target? And who had the strongest motive of all for wanting them dead?
When the past reaches out to strangle the present, and Cole finally understands the truth about how and why the Colstons died, he uncovers the most shocking revelation of all.