The body of a young Brazilian woman is found strangled with a tie in a forest where three similar murders occurred several years before. Barnaby and Troy visit George Meakham, the now-retired police officer who was in charge of the investigation of the earlier crimes, and who has since become obsessed with them. The trail leads them to a local cigarette and tobacco company and two of its employees in particular. The Portuguese au-pair of one of them is then murdered. Barnaby manages to solve both the new murders and the old ones, though not before the murder of yet another victim.