When the body of young female environmental activist and science student, Laila Fanshaw, is found floating in Lake Burley Griffin, private investigator Sandra Mahoney's life is turned upside down, not least because her partner, Ivan, was in love with Laila. Ivan is a suspect and has no alibi for the time of death.
A further strain is put on the relationship when another suspect, who worked in the Federal Environment Department, wants to hire Sandra to help him clear his name.
Sandra has to weigh up her desire to learn the truth against her children's needs. Only six-year-old Katya is Ivan's natural child; adolescent Peter has a different father. But both children are deeply affected by Laila's death and Ivan's reaction to it. Added to this, Sandra's friend in the Federal Police, Detective Sergeant Brook, is absolutely against her involvement in the case.
It takes all of Sandra's ingenuity and courage to steer herself, and her family, through the dangers that lead to an eventual unmasking of the truth.