T

he body of precocious teenager Catherine Ross is discovered on a beach. Catherine and her father, oil-worker Euan, live in the same house from where nineteen years earlier another young girl, Catriona Bruce, disappeared, though no corpse was found. Suspicion falls on hermit Magnus Bain, whom Catherine had recently visited for a dare with her shy friend Sally, later returning to take a photograph of Magnus for a school project. Catherine's teacher Hugo Scott initially denies seeing her out of school but when fibres from a rug in his flat are found under Catherine's nails and he admits taking her to a party given by boatyard owner Alan Isbister inspector Jimmy Perez arrests him. Then a body believed to be that of Catriona is discovered and suspicion reverts back to Magnus.

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