* Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Inspector Thomas Lynley is put in charge of the investigation of the decapitation of a Yorkshire farmer who was a religious zealot.
* Sergeant Barbara Havers, a policewoman known for being difficult, is assigned to work with Inspector Lynley on the case.
* Father Hart, a Catholic priest from the village of Keldale in Yorkshire, arrives in London to present New Scotland Yard with the details of the murder that happened in his Yorkshire village .
* New Scotland Yard is investigating thirteen recent killings committed at train stations in the London area.
* The media calls the train station murderer, who preys on homeless people and transients, "The Railway Ripper".
* Eight months ago, Sergeant Barbara Havers got demoted because she could not get along with the other members of the CID (Criminal Investigations Department).
* Havers assignment to work with Inspector Lynley surprises her because Lynley is...
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