'One night the quiet country town of Ulana is disturbed by the news that the residence of Andrew Landon, a wealthy landowner, has been set on fire by an incendiarist, and that Landon himself has been wounded by a gunshot. Detective-Inspector Lennox, holidaying with his brother-in-law, Sergeant Gus Glynn, in charge of the local police station, hastens to the scene. He learns from Mickey Cringle, a subnormal lad employed by the Landons, that the crime was committed by Maurice Russell, a young man who has recently inherited his father's property, some miles away, and becomes engaged to Lorna Kent, daughter of one of the leading citizens of Ulana.
Also in love with Lorna is David Garnett, and ex-R.A.N man, who has recently bought the 'Ulana Star' and is trying to revive the fortunes of that newspaper.
In Landon's house at the time of the shooting were his young wife, Denise, their small son, and their maid, Christine Norden.
There seems no possible reason why Maurice Russell should have committed such a crime, and Sergeant Glynn inclines to the belief that it is the work of Jim Watson, a neurotic ex-soldier who is wandering about the district with his wife in a small, horse-drawn caravan.
Landon is taken away to the Ulana hospital, and Lennox starts his investigations.' (Publisher's abstract)