An illegal immigrant is found murdered in an Edinburgh housing scheme: a racist attack, or something else? Rebus is drawn into the case, but has other problems: his old police station has closed, and his masters would rather he retire than stick around. As Rebus investigates, he must visit an asylum seekers' detention centre, deal with the sleazy Edinburgh underworld, and maybe even fall in love....
Siobhan has problems of her own. A teenager has disappeared from home and Siobhan is drawn into helping the family, which means travelling too close to the web of a convicted rapist. Then there are two skeletons - a woman and an infant - found buried beneath a concrete cellar floor in Fleshmarket Close. The scene begins to look like an elaborate stunt - but whose, and for what purpose? And how can it tie to the murder on the unforgiving housing-scheme known as Knoxland?
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