oe and his little girl Jessie are on a train when Jessie notices that another passenger, elderly Margaret Kraszewski, has been killed with a single stab wound. Vera visits the coastal town of Mardle, where Margaret lodged with singer Kate Darrow, her two children and boyfriend Stuart. They all praise Margaret as an almost saintly woman and are amazed that anybody would want to kill her. Margaret volunteered at a women's hostel and when Dee, an alcoholic prostitute who lived there, is also found dead Vera suspects a connection, especially as Margaret wanted to report something to the police just before she died. Pub landlady Valerie Furlow tells Vera that Margaret and Dee were good friends who once lived together in the same house on Harbour Street. She believes that Margaret's Polish husband was violent to her and, as he disappeared suddenly thirty years ago, Vera wonders if he was murdered. The chief beneficiary from Margaret's will proves to be Dee and Vera learns that years ago Dee was a rape victim whom certain people set out to avenge. Now another rape victim provides a clue to Margaret's killer.

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