Alex and Rachel come to Oxford for a gathering where Rachel is brutally murdered. The case drags on and though Alex is initially a suspect he is immediately released. Coming back to Oxford later in the year Alex tries to piece together the events and circumstances and the friends who surrounded both of them on that fateful night and come to some kind of closure on the murder. The police are not even close to solving the murder at the time.
Harry who was Rachel's mentor offers surprising information not just of Rachel but of the two other undergraduates who were mentored by him and on the other hand we have Rachel's rather strange godmother Evie whose story and support of Rachel changed over the years rapidly. We also have Antony and Cissy Rachel's erstwhile friends who shared not just their mentor Harry but also a lesbian relationship between Cissy and Rachel. Antony though desperate to be part of this menage de trois was never allowed to be part of the scene.
Using these basic four characters and their past lives as well as Harry's commentaries on what is happening now, Alex uncovers a life that he wishes he did not uncover and secrets he would have preferred not to know.
Alex is a solitary person and after having had a wonderful relationship of love, warmth and companionship with his wife Rachel, this is suddenly taken away. The feeling of loss is immense and the loneliness total.