DCI Woodend's first foreign holiday, in General Franco's Spain, ends abruptly when he sees a fellow guest plunge mysteriously from his hotel balcony to the rocky beach below With the help of Paco Ruiz a former policeman, living in disgrace since the Spanish Civil War Woodend embarks on an unofficial investigation which provides more questions than answers. Why was the dead man travelling under a false passport? Who are the men he was seen to associate with, but now deny all knowledge of him? Why does the local police chief seem determined to lead him up a blind alley? And who is responsible for the three more deaths which quickly follow on from the first? It soon becomes plain to Woodend that the roots of the case stretch back thirty years and that if he is ever to solve it, he must confront history itself.