For two minutes she was dead. The assailant was vicious, the attack brutal; and it left her lifeless...until her pulse fluttered and she jolted awake. Now, a year later, detective Nan Vining is still questioning her strength, her safety, even her sanity: Can she ever again be the cop (and mother) she was before? And will her attacker someday return to finish the job, before she can track him down herself?
Nan Vining has given a name to her unknown assailant: T. B. Mann, The Bad Man. On the job, Nan breaks rules and steals evidence, building a case file based on the dead certainty that T. B. Mann is obsessed with women who wear uniforms or carry guns, that he hunts them and kills them and then adorns them with a pearl necklace.
In 1820s London, Julian Kestel finds the body of a murdered woman in his bed. Mark Craddock blackmails his old boss, Hugh Fontclair, into entering into marriage with his only daughter. An investigation ensues.