A body is found chopped up at a fish and chips shop; the owner is accused. He is released, then later found dead himself. A rich man who owns shops and computer stores becomes suspect. There is a Chinese connection; an international scam. Bill Slider's working for a new boss who's not liked, and his personal life messy with a married girlfriend afraid of divorce.
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Exit the devil you know, alias Detective Superintendent 'George' Dickson, to be replaced by DS "Mad Ivan" Barrington, a new broom determined to sweep clean, and with no desire whatever to be loved by his subordinates. It is all par for the course for Detective Inspector Bill Slider as he faces the unhygienic fact of a dismembered corpse in a catering establishment - and is plunged into the sort of seedy underworld a sensitive chap would sooner avoid.