Plot Revealed Below!
Regan Peverill, a gifted American student, is found shot dead. The prime suspect is Danny Griffon, a friend and fellow math student at Oxford University.
Inspector Lewis, having just returned from a two year assignment in the British Virgin Islands, is temporarily assigned the case, against the wishes of his new superior, DCS Jean Innocent. Sergeant James Hathaway is assigned to assist him on a temporary basis.
Danny is the son of a formula one racing driver, Johnny Griffon, who died in a car accident. When his father died, Danny became heir to Griffon Motors, a luxury sports car company, which is now facing bankruptcy and in talks to merge with a Japanese company. Until Danny comes of age, the company is being run by his Uncle Rex, Johnny's twin brother, and Tom Pollock, a family friend. Danny believes that Rex is responsible for his father's death, and is also convinced that Rex is having an affair with his mother Trudi, an accusation they both deny.
At the time of his father's death, Danny was cautioned for criminal damage when he attacked his Uncle Rex's car. Inspector Morse was the investigating officer. Lewis discovers a cryptic clue among the case papers that indicates Morse had uncovered a Griffon family secret.
Danny is found by the river in Binsey, having apparently committed suicide. The gun found in his hand is the gun that was used to kill the American student, Regan. DCS Innocent believes it to be an open and shut case; Danny killed the girl and then killed himself. But Lewis and Hathaway aren't so sure. The crime scene indicates that Danny didn't die where he was found; he must have been moved there.
Denniston, Danny's tutor and confidante, tells Lewis that the night before Danny's death, Danny came to see him. Danny was in a terrible state having discovered that Rex had slept with Regan. Danny believed that Rex had killed Regan and then tried to frame him for her murder.
Upon hearing the news of Danny's death, Jessica Pollock, Tom Pollock's daughter, who was in love with Danny, attempts suicide at the very spot where Danny was found dead.
That evening the body of Tom Pollock is found wrapped up in a shower curtain in the trunk of his car. Rex is caught on a CCTV camera parking the car at Oxford train station.
Lewis deciphers Morse's cryptic clue and discovers that Trudi was having an affair with Tom Pollock, not Rex Griffon. He confronts them both. Rex and Trudi claim that on the night Danny died, he came to the house and shot Tom Pollock. At the time, Tom was taking a shower in Trudi's bathroom; Danny must have assumed he was Rex. They tried to cover the murder up because they feared it might jeopardize the deal with the Japanese.
Trudi confides in Lewis that Tom Pollock was in fact Danny's father. Danny never knew. She had revealed the truth the day her husband died. Johnny had roared off in his car and then crashed.
Trudi had confessed the truth to Jessica, before her attempted suicide. Trudi had wanted to try and make Jessica understand why she had always blocked any kind of romantic relationship between her and Danny: they were brother and sister.
Danny's computer gives Lewis the proof he is looking for. Regan Peverill had emailed Denniston and Danny the night she died because she had found a critical flaw in Denniston's famous mathematical proof that had won him a Field's medal. Because the university server had gone down, Danny only received the email the day after Regan's death and had gone round to confront Denniston. Denniston had killed Regan to secure his professional reputation at Oxford University and framed Danny for her murder. He killed Danny to keep him quiet and then killed Tom Pollock, believing him to be Rex Griffon, to give added credence to Danny's apparent suicide.
With the case solved, Innocent reluctantly agrees to keep Lewis on in CID, rather than moving him over to a training post which had been her first suggestion. Hathaway has been assigned to a new inspector, but asks Innocent that he remain with Lewis.
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