Judith Cutler was born and bred in the Midlands, and revels in using her birthplace, with its rich cultural life, as a background for her novels. After a long stint as an English lecturer at a run-down college of further education, Judith, a prize-winning short-story writer, has taught Creative Writing at Birmingham University, has run occasional writing course elsewhere (from a maximum security prison to an idyltic Greek island) and ministered to needy colleagues in her role as Secretary of the Crime Writers' Association.
When a colleague becomes seriously ill, Chief Superintendent Fran Harman has to delay her impending retirement to oversee an investigation into a recent spate of 'happy-slappings' and minor assaults in the area.
The wave of incidents has ignited a media furore and Fran soon finds herself having to spend as much time trying to control the press as trying to catch the criminals. However, the local reporter who initially broke the story may have personal reasons for taking such an avid interest in the case.