Hank Brevard, the hospital's plant manager, has had his throat slit from ear to ear, a violent and gruesome crime that no one can make sense of at first. His body is found beside the huge boiler in a 150-year-old section of the hospital's basement. Unsure if the crime has anything to do with the hospital, the local cops, with the unsolicited help of Harry, investigate the victim, the building, and the people in it, though the hospital director, Sam Mahanes, is less than helpful. There are plenty of problems at the hospital, not the least of which is an ongoing fiscal battle between Mahanes and one of the facility's key physicians. But none of these skirmishes seem connected to the murder victim. Not until a second murder occurs -- this one of a beloved and respected physician who has been with the hospital for decades -- does anyone become convinced that the crimes and the hospital are somehow connected.