Pascoe returns home for the grand country wedding of a school friend. Soldier Ian Henslowe is marrying Jill Lowry, favourite daughter of wealthy farmer Ted Lowry. The reception is disrupted by the discovery of a dead body in the Lowry's pig sheds. The victim is Ian's best friend, fellow soldier Martin Wilkie. Dalziel, who's just returned from a hospital check-up for his dodgy heart, arrives to investigate. Ian's devastated when Jill admits that she was having an affair with Wilkie. Dalziel and Pascoe visit Wilkie's regiment and his home, only to find that it has just been ransacked and set on fire by an intruder; Dalziel tells Pascoe he is too close to the suspects to stay on the case; instead he can remain at his parents' and hope to pick up gossip. Pascoe does not get on with his father, who has always resented his son's decision not to go into farming, especially after the recent hardships of the foot-and-mouth outbreak. Instead, Bill Pascoe has relied for help on Pascoe's cousin, T
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