Morse, bored with his holiday, visits a quiet country church and looks into an old unsolved murder and suspected suicide which happened there on hallowed ground. He soon believes he is onto something and draws Lewis into the case, which is officially re-opened. If the church is an unlikely murder scene, its Vicar and his voluntary helpers are equally unlikely suspects. Lawson, the Vicar, is haughty and is said to be perverted. Among his congregation is Ruth Rawlinson, whom Morse is attracted to, but she proves to be having an affair with church warden Harry Josephs, another suspect. Paul Wilson is a very lusty organist and is close to Mrs Josephs. Jealousies and tensions abound.While Morse is wrestling with the quagmire of respectable hypocrisy around the church, it appears that a serial killer is at work.