Divorced ex-policeman Jackson Brodie works a a private eye on largely mundane cases until,by chance,he meets sisters Amelia and Julia Land. They ask him to look into the disappearance of their little sister Olivia thirty years earlier now that her favourite toy has surfaced in the belongings of their late father. At the same time agitated lawyer Theo Wynne,impatient at police lack of progress,has him investigate the recent murder of his teen-aged daughter Laura at his office. With reluctant help from ex-colleague Louise Jackson learns that Laura's teacher Jessup made a pass at her but he had an alibi. Her boyfriend Josh,however,recalls that she had another,jealous admirer though Theo refuses to believe it of his little girl. Jackson is then picked up in a bar by Shirley,who asks his help in finding her missing niece Tanya. All these circumstances remind him of the murder of his sister years ago when he was a young boy.