It could be any small college town and any next door neighbor. But the town is Promise Falls and the neighbors next door are The Langleys. The story begins when they are murdered. Bert the policeman investigates the neighborhood, starting with Jim Cutter’s house.
Jim has been many things: a painter, a salesman, a chauffeur. Now he is the guy who mows the lawn. The story moves quickly, in and out of the private indiscretions of a mayor, a driver, an ex-con, a hooker, husbands, wives, cuckolds.
The pace of discovery is faster than the pace of ordinary life: the difference is what we call “a thrill”.