When botanist Li Nash digs up the body of recently buried English Professor, Murray Hawes, Lewis and Hathaway are find themselves involved in an impossible quest. Murray was a man who was possessed with solving the riddle of Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark". They soon find out that Murray had a rivalry with his brother, who is a lecturer in Theology and Moral Philosophy. They also have to deal with interference from Michelle Marber who is an amateur detective, who believes that that the hugger is local medical researcher Alex Falconer.
A super intelligent, but incredibly lonely professor is devastated when she discovers that her internet dating video has somehow found its way onto a subversive media blog. With half her students giggling at the footage on their phones, and a slimy former date seeing her distress as a romantic opportunity, she returns home and is found dead the next morning. In her hand she is clutching a newspaper article about a millionaire businessman, who has been her nemesis for the last couple of years, proposing to buy up much of her college's land for housing development.
When a babysitter is discovered dead, it immediately throws up a number of questions. Was the killing opportunistic or calculated? Was she actually the intended victim, or was the target her employers, or their regular babysitter who cancelled at the last minute?
When a controversial American academic is invited to speak at Oxford's Department of Criminology about his theory of "dangerousness", it stirs up a lot of deep-seated emotions. Many are worried that such ideas could be used to target ethnic minorities. The next morning, he's found strangled in his room. Is it suicide or an anti-hate lynching?