wo police officers are called to an apparent domestic where they find Lucy Payne unconscious. Investigating a noise in the cellar they are attacked by her husband Marcus, who kills one of them with a machete before the other, Janet Taylor, knocks him out and he is arrested. D.C.I. Alan Banks comes to the house and finds the corpses of four missing blonde girls, though there is no sign of Leanne Wray, who also disappeared. The case is hampered when, due to an interfering hospital doctor perturbed that Janet put Payne in a coma, Alan is shadowed by annoying D.S. Annie Cabbot from the Professional Standards Department. Lucy, a frequent victim of her husband's violence, cannot help trace Leanne, being unaware that her husband was a mass killer and also unaware that he was having sex with Maggie, the concerned neighbour who wanted her to leave him and who called the police to the Paynes' house. After a chilly first meeting Annie suggests to Alan that they have a drink together and he agrees to, whilst wondering if she is using him for career advancement. Just as they are getting cosy, they get the call to say that Payne has died. Now there is nobody able to locate Leanne.

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