hilst digging in the woods botanist Liv Nash unearths the corpse of academic Murray Hawes,a man seemingly obsessed with solving the riddle of the Snark in the Lewis Carroll poem. Just before his death he had spent two hundred thousand pounds on an original copy of the poem which he felt held the key and was financing himself as a medical guinea pig to Dr Alex Falconer. Forensics show that he was killed in the Oxford Botanic Gardens and carried to the woods and amateur sleuth Michelle Marber places Falconer in the gardens at the time though he confesses to an affair with their curator,Liv's boss Helena Wright. Michelle tells Lewis she feels that Falconer and Murray's brother Conor were responsible for the death of her son Stevie. Conor founded a club for genius students and hounded Stevie to join but now Conor is the next victim after arguing with two new prospective candidates. Lewis finds that sibling rivalry,the quest for medical cures and extra-marital affairs all play a part in solving the brothers' murders.

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