Daybreak is a one-pub town owned lock, stock and barrel by Mr. Samuel Loader, known as Melody Sam. He is universally honored if not loved. Three people have been murdered: an aboriginal girl, Mary; Mrs. Mavis Lorelli, the wife of a cattleman; and a garage apprentice. Then Detective-Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte is called in. He wanders into the town as Nat Bonnar looking for horse work and is taken on as a yard man by Katherine Loader, Melody Sam's granddaughter. Bony has a good friend and ally in Sister Jenks. The murders seem haphazard and motiveless and the only clue is the plaster casts of the footprints of a man who limps. Terrible, tormenting silence and solitude finally make the murderer happy to confess.