A fair-haired woman in white is observed running from the plank bridge over rain-swollen Larapinta Creek. Not long afterward, the body of a very unpleasant 14-year-old girl is found drowned. The inhabitants of this small Australian town suspect a beautiful young newcomer, wealthy widow Gabriel Endicott, of being the running woman. Their only question seems to be whether her conduct was negligent or intentional; did she push the victim, or just fail to help her? The more Gabriel tries to extricate herself from suspicion, the more deeply implicated she becomes, until finally her own life is endangered.

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