It's the 1960s. A hot August night lies heavy over the Carolinas. The corpse -- legs sprawled, stomach down on the concrete pavement, arms above the head -- brings the patrol car to a halt. The local police pick up a black stranger named Virgil Tibbs, only to discover that their most likely suspect is a homicide detective from California -- and the racially tense community's single hope in solving a brutal murder that turns up no witnesses, no motives, no clues.
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