Heavy rain falls on Lafferton. As the rain water slowly drains away, a shallow grave - and a skeleton - are revealed.
It doesn't take long to identify the remains as those of missing teenager, Harriet Lowther, who was last seen sixteen years ago.
But a cold case isn't a priority: if Detective Inspector Simon Serrailler is to solve the case, he will have to do it alone.
Susan Hill has been a professional writer for over fifty years. Her books have won awards and prizes including the Whitbread, the John Llewellyn Rhys and the Somerset Maugham, and have been shortlisted for the Booker. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Honours. Her novels include Strange Meeting, I'm the King of the Castle, In the Springtime of the Year and A Kind Man. She has also published autobiographical works and collections of short stories as well as the Simon Serrailler series of crime novels. The play of her ghost story The Woman in Black has been running in London's West End since 1988. She has two adult daughters and lives in North Norfolk. www.susanhill.org.uk