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The body of a woman is found in an Edinburgh close and the police label it as a random act of violence, until Detective Constable Faro finds a playing card, the nine of diamonds, planted on the corpse. His superiors scoff at his suspicions, but days later a man is attacked in the street, and left with the nine of diamonds in his pocket. Faro seizes on the connection, but what is it that links the victims? Beset by hostile superiors and a policehating public, Faro feels he may never crack this confounding case.