Dalziel and Pascoe investigate a suspicious death when 16 year-old Alec Jordan is found dead, floating in a lake. The post-mortem reveals a low level of alcohol in his system, but a high level of a tranquilizer known as ruffies, the date rape drug. For Dalziel, the case is particularly difficult. Ten years previously while in pursuit of suspect, Dalziel struck and killed Alec's mother with his car. Although Dalziel was found not to be responsible, the incident has always haunted him. The police focus on Alec's school mates, particularly Sophie Caine who is uncooperative and seems to have something to hide. The police believe that Alec was gay and pursue that line of investigation but the reason for his death is directly related to the night his mother died.