A retarded child is ritually murdered while on a school outing in a nature reserve. The police, led by Milo Sturgis, have got nowhere and are hampered by the girl's parents: she was the daughter of an Israeli diplomat and her father refuses to allow any publicity for fear that the killing was anti-Semitic and that the death would encourage others. But Milo suspects the murderer is more 'ordinary', and with the help of Alex Delaware, tries to track any previous murders of retarded or disabled children. With painstaking research they reveal a ghastly trail of slaughter. In the midst of this they realise there is another investigator following their tracks - Daniel Shavari from Jerusalem, who last appeared in THE BUTCHER'S THEATRE - and whose orders may go beyond merely identifying the killer.