As the Second World War nears its end, a man is stabbed to death on the shoreline of Kinloch, in the shadow of the great warships in the harbour.
Many years later, the postman on Gairsay, a tiny island off the coast of Kintyre, discovers that the Bremner family are missing from their farm. There's a pot on the stove and food on the table, but of the Bremners there is no sign.
When DCI Daley comes into possession of a journal written by his wartime predecessor in Kinloch, Inspector William Urquhart, he soon realises that the Isle of Gairsay has many secrets. Assisted by his indomitable deputy, DS Brian Scott, and new boss, Chief Superintendent Carrie Symington, Daley must solve a wartime murder to uncover the shocking events of the past and the present.