Hilary and John Pansel have muddled along in their cottage in the small community of Bryde-by-the-Sea for ten years, hopeful that John's paintings will ignite a flame of interest in the art world.
Now Hilary is being pursued by a successful writer from London, Dallas Fiennes, who has retreated to Norfolk to write another bestseller to replenish his bank account. For Dallas, Hilary is no more than an amusement - one of many - but when John becomes jealous of Dallas's attentions, Hilary is driven into the writer's arms.
Then Fiennes is found dead, and John Pansel is the prime suspect . . .