Dalziel is investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl who was addicted to the Internet. He gets rough with the only suspect they have and gets booted off the case.
Efrona Davis, a popular entertainer at the Wayland Bay Holiday Village, is found dead on the beach. Was it jealousy? She had been voted the people's favourite week after week in the fly-on-the-wall TV docu-soap Wayland Baywatch.
Pascoe takes the case as Dalziel is officially 'on leave' following a furious row with the Assistant Chief Constable about the case involving the abduction of 15-year-old Penny Wilson. However, Pascoe's assistant DS Hawes is more interested in investigating another case: £2 million worth of diamonds, which have gone missing together with their courier. Pascoe needs Dalziel and persuades the ACC to relent.
Among Dalziel and Pascoe's suspects are Wayland's resident comic, Efrona's shady agent, and her father, a strict Presbyterian lay preacher who was ashamed of his flighty daughter. As the detectives finally make headway, not only does there appear to be a connection between Efrona's murder and the missing diamond heist, they manage to solve the Penny Wilson mystery too.