As Philippa Barnes, a young West Coast glacier guide, is getting over her parents’ death in a climbing accident, Kirsten, a journalist friend of hers, is murdered beside a nearby lake. Philippa teams up with Kirsten’s brother Jack to try and find out what Kirsten was investigating while a diarist tries to understand the emotion behind a betrayal that has poisoned at least one life.
Philippa’s search will take her from the secretive people of the lake to the home of high court judge, Loraine Latimer, a powerful woman who has a strange relationship with her family. Philippa finds that the murder of Kirsten is linked to a decades-old mystery, but not in time to prevent another tragedy. Past and present finally come together in a late night confrontation at Lake Kaniere when two very different people face the consequences of choices they made decades before. It all comes down to the things people mistake for love and the destructive nature of some friendships.
The novel’s characters reflect the contradictions of their environment, a place where life can thrive where there is ice, and where things that inspire can kill.