Lill Hodsden was a monster. She rode roughshod over her daughter, wiped her feet on her husband, blackmailed her lovers, and smothered her sons with a mother's love that left them screaming out for freedom. Lill set the hackles rising all over Todmarsh, the little South Coast town she queened over. She was just asking to be done in. When Lill was found garrotted on Thursday, on the way home from one of her boyfriends', the case was wide open, and half Todmarsh would have regarded the murderer as a civic benefactor. Inspector McHale, on his first murder case, is a man who values intelligence, particularly his own. He is convinced he is going to discover the killer. But is he going to discover the right one?