When two fishermen find the body of a local farmer in the river, Detective Inspector Mike Shepherd is sent to the small rural town of Brokenwood to investigate the death. Is this the suicide of a man guilty of his own wife’s murder or is he the victim of foul play? As Mike uncovers a family’s tragedies and secrets he also learns that Brokenwood is a place where shadows lurk just beneath the surface.
With Brokenwood touted for its burgeoning merlot, the annual wine show is a major event. Having bought a 10-acre block with maturing grapes, no one is looking forward to it more than DI Mike Shepherd. But when a guest judge and wine critic is found dead, drowned inside a fermenting vat, the show takes second place to the murder investigation.
A group of erstwhile members of the Brokenwood Golf Club, committee members no less, have gathered for their regular Wednesday morning round. They are playing their approaches to the first green when a zombie-like figure lurches from the early-morning gloom, coming towards them. It takes the golfers a moment or two (apparently) to realise this is actually Adele Stone, the Club owner - her face red and blistering; gasping desperately for breath. Then she falls from sight, into a greenside bunker. By the time the guys get to her, Ms Stone is very much dead. And so Mike and Kristin are called to investigate what appears to be homicide by poisoning.
Four close friends go hunting in the bush on a stag trip. But the groom-to-be never comes back – he was shot through the head. Initially this would seem to be just another tragic hunting accident amidst picturesque New Zealand bush. The only problem is none of the remaining three friends own up to pulling the trigger that fired the lethal bullet - yet all three had discharged their rifles – with no deer to prove it. The question is – who shot Hayden Renner? Was he mistaken for a real stag or was there something more sinister at play?