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After Colin Reiver is acquitted of responsibility for killing a child in a car accident he sets out on a sea cruise in the hope that it might ease local feeling and the voice of his own conscience.

But when a few days after his departure Colin is found dead by the roadside, Miles Bredon, investigator for the Indescribable Insurance Company, must travel to Scotland to establish precisely when the death occurred. The body has disappeared and reappeared in the space of forty-eight hours and a large insurance premium is at stake.