When novelist Kate Ivory first meets Dr Olivia Blacket, an academic at Leicester College, Oxford, the atmosphere is far from amicable. Olivia refuses to show Kate the fascinating material she is researching, even though it concerns the same literary figure that Kate is writing about. Determined to nose out the scandals that could provide her with a bestseller, Kate discovers a darker side to Dr Blacket. What are the strange obsessions that haunt her? What is her relationship with Kate's boyfriend Liam? And most of all, who would want to murder her? When Dr Blacket is murdered, Liam's name heads the list of suspects, but Kate thinks a bizarre 'family' of civilised squatters - four men guarding a blank-faced girl - might have something to hide. Can Kate unravel the truth and prove Liam's innocence?