Isabel, Jamie and Charlie are off to Highland Perthshire to visit an old schoolfriend of Isabel's, who married into a family of wealthy newspaper owners. The weekend is a success apart from one thing: Charlie witnesses a fox being shot by the estate manager, and is very upset. A few weeks later, the Edinburgh press reports a major art theft from the friend's Highland estate, including a valuable Dutch masterwork that was going to pay the estate tax. In helping her friend and the team of lawyers to negotiate the ethical dilemmas of paying ransom for the painting's return, Isabel will face her first real criminals. The lawyers are distinctly suspect, and may be closely tied to the thieves--they may even be the thieves themselves. At the same time, she must confront the thorny issues of old friendships that have run their course and truth-telling in the provision of references.