DCI Red Metcalfe, married to the profoundly deaf Susan, meets new sergeant Kate Beauchamp and, along with Jez Clifton, they attend at the gruesome murder of chef Philip Blake, who was hanged and his tongue cut out and replaced with a silver spoon. Some time afterwards Red joins up with former colleague Duncan Warren, a divorced reformed gambler, to investigate the murder of bishop James Perch, clubbed to death and also with an apostle spoon in his mouth to replace his missing tongue. Several other murders follow, in all cases the victims were stripped but not robbed and their tongues cut out and replaced with spoons. Years earlier Red turned in his younger brother Eric for murder. Now Eric is out and living in a hostel but reluctant to see Red. However hostel warden, vicar Stephen Hedges, gives Red a key to the murders. Each victims bore the name of one of Christ's disciples and all were killed in the same way as their biblical namesakes.
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