Vera is called to the scene of the murder of trainee forensic psychologist Joanne Caswell, whose body has been found dumped at a landfill site. Vera zeroes in on Joanne's re-examination of an old crime, following the trail of the dead woman's investigation in order to catch her killer. Vera is confronted with the sight of Caden Lennon's murder, by knife, in a coastal town's shipyard. The teenager had absconded from his support worker's care six weeks previously but, with few leads, Vera looks into a gang connection and discovers a drugs network. Successful business woman Lisa Varsey throws a party for her family and friends on the River Tyne. But it goes horribly wrong when her sister Dani is found dead in the water. At first the family believe that Dani’s death was an accident but Vera and pathologist Malcolm know that the forensics point to murder. Vera and the team alight on concerning rumours that Dani could have been in an abusive relationship and questions whether this could have led to her death. But, the investigation takes a turn when evidence points to the fact that something was rotten in another area of Dani’s life. Vera begins to believe that Dani was going to expose an unpalatable truth. Vera must unpick the tightly-woven threads that hold the family together to discover who killed an innocent woman. DCI Vera Stanhope must open up a cold case to find the connection between a skeleton discovered underneath the site of a notorious burnt-out night club and a present-day murder.