era's former colleague Stuart Macken kills himself after his house is fire-bombed, leaving his daughter Stella in a coma. Vera learns that Stuart never recovered from his wife Marianne leaving him for Brian Gower and had to be made subject of a restraining order. Given the two men's mutual antipathy, Gower is Vera's prime suspect but then there are others, people he recently arrested. One is Stella's former school teacher and another may have been her older lover. Indeed Stella turns out to hold the key to everything. At the same time Vera's perceived bias toward Stuart leads to a run-in with constable Holly.

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