Detective Inspector Bill Slider is not in the best of moods. His true love, Joanna, has dumped him, his wife has left him for her boring bridge partner, and his tyrannical boss is punishing him with paperwork. It takes a murder to change Bill's luck.
When a world-famous conductor is gunned down at rehearsal, Slider is happy to take the case-especially since his old flame Joanna witnessed the crime from the violin section. Slider's interviews reveal that almost no one, including Joanna, grieves for the dead maestro. Arrogant, vindictive, and not at all the artistic genius the public perceives, the victim leaves a legacy of unhappy musicians, wounded lovers, loathsome family members ... and one detective with little time to patch up his love life while he follows the twisted trail of a most unlikely killer.