""(Rebus) is... the same dogged and determined cop with a wealth of experience and scant regard for the politically correct.""
Rebus has retired. Honestly. But he can't resist dabbling, and an evening at the Caledonian Hotel brings back memories of a murder there long ago that was never solved. A beautiful young woman, wife to a banker, was staying at 'the Caley' at the same time as a famous rock star and his entourage. Various people were in the frame for the murder, including more than one of her lovers.
Detective Inspector Siobhan Clark has kept in touch and contacts Rebus when his old sparring partner, Big Ger Cafferty is implicated in an assault on the new pretender to the post of Mr Big in the Edinburgh crime scene, Darryl Christie.
Detective Inspector Malcolm Fox has been transferred to the major Crimes Division of Police Scotland at Gartcosh, much to the chagrin of Siobhan, who would have liked the chance to move to a more influential role. When Fox is assigned to work with Edinburgh on Christie's case, the tension between Clark and Fox comes to the surface.
So three old colleagues are working together again, each with a different agenda: with Rebus working very much outside the loop. Darryl Christie's money laundering schemes are under observation, Big Ger is always a force to be reckoned with and all along Rebus is beavering away trying to solve the old murder.
Rebus is also struggling to adopt a healthier lifestyle, supported by his girlfriend, who also happens to be the forensic pathologist. He is succeeding, up to a point, but has been scared by some worrying symptoms and is waiting for the results of tests.