Peter Robinson, internationally acclaimed author of literary suspense, knows the serenity found in the rustic Yorkshire countryside can be deceptive. For evil can strike in the most pastoral of surroundings, and go unpunished for years-even decades.Water is the essence of life. Yet during a dry season, when supply cannot meet demand, the precious commodity rapidly drains from a manmade resevoir to reveal a forgotten town that was sacrificed for the sake of water.A blistering summer has struck, and thirst has consumed the resources provided by the Thornfield Resevoir, unmasking the remains of Hobb's End, a small village at its bottom that ceased to exist in post World War II England. A curious child thinks of the resurfaced hamlet as a mystical playground, until he unearths a human skeleton. Modern forensics determine that the skeleton belongs to a young woman who appears to have been brutally murdered and hidden beneath the floor of a decrepit outbuilding in the 1940's. It falls to a grudge-wielding police superior to seclect a detective for the impossible task of putting a name to the unidentifiable remains from a place that no longer exists, and whose living former residents are scattered to the winds.Having challenged the system and his superiors once too often, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks has been restricted to desk duty as punishment for insubordination, until an official telephone call lands him in the muck of the decades-old murder. Given the state of affairs, any sensible policeman would throw in the towel, but not Banks. Aided by Annie Cabbot, an intuitive Detective Sergeant, Banks challenges the odds by identifying the victim and proceeeds to uncover the past buried beneath a flood of time, indiscretions and denial.