The Brokenwood Cheetahs are a local rugby team of legendary status. Their losing streak of 50 straight games has broken national records. So when their hapless coach, Arnie Langstone, is found dead - stripped naked and strapped to a goalpost - some think it might be blessing in disguise – perhaps now they might start winning again. But amidst this DSS Mike Shepherd is perplexed by several other issues. Firstly, why was a pair of women’s underwear stuffed down Arnie’s throat? And what do the neatly embroidered initials ‘G.G.’ signify? But then a second body is discovered and Mike and his team are stretched to the limit. Is this the work of a serial killer or merely a puzzling co-incidence?
The bucolic coastal waters off Brokenwood support a thriving fishing industry. But when Jared discovers a severed human hand in a crayfish pot it appears to be harbouring something far more sinister. Who does the hand belong to and are they still alive?
Holly Collins is not only DSS Mike Shepherd's favourite country musician she's also playing in Brokenwood. Unfortunately it turns out to be her final gig. When she is found electrocuted it appears to be a rock'n'roll suicide. But then again it could have been a drunken accident - or, as Mike suspects, it is perhaps something less obvious. With a careless note scrawled in lipstick the only clue, Mike has to set aside his personal interest in the victim and strike the right note with Holly's dysfunctional band members: Slim Fingers, Waylon Strings and Jesse James. But the more he finds out, the more he needs to know and the less he likes what he learns.