The summer of 1976 was the hottest in living memory. Britain sweltered, trees and plants wilted, fire ripped through forests, and rivers ran dry. In London's Kew Gardens, a 10-year-old was parted from her friends and, dizzied by scorching heat, wandered into its secluded undergrowth. She thought she saw a woman lying dead on the ground, but when she opened her eyes, the woman had gone. Forty years later, the detective's daughter, Stella Darnell, takes on a chilling new case.
It was the murder that shocked the nation. Thirty years ago, Kate Rokesmith went walking by the river with her young son. She never came home. For three decades her case file has lain, unsolved, in the corner of an attic - until Stella Darnell, daughter of Detective Chief Superintendent Darnell, starts to clear out her father's house after his death.
Jack Harmon craves silence and a bird's-eye view. From his new home in Palmyra Tower, he can raise binoculars to watch over West London. If he watches for long enough, he will learn who has secrets. He will learn who plans to kill. But Jack does not see everything. October 2013, the month of the great storm of St. Jude. A man dies beneath a late-night Piccadilly line train, verdict: suicide. Jack's friend Stella Darnell, the detective's daughter, suspects it could have been murder.
Stella Darnell cannot shake her father's legacy. A year after his death, she has discovered what looks like an unsolved case in his darkroom: a folder of unlabelled photographs of deserted streets. But why did her father - a Detective Chief Superintendent - never file them at the station? The oldest photo dates back to 1966, to a day when 10-year-old Mary Thornton was taking her little brother home from school. That afternoon, as the Moors Murderers were sent to prison for life, Mary witnessed something horrible.
Summer, 1981: The body of Kate Rokesmith is found by the River Thames in London. Her four-year-old son is wandering nearby, traumatised and mute. Detective Inspector Darnell cancels yet another trip he had promised his daughter Stella and heads for the scene of the crime. The murder is never solved. Winter, 2011: It's another busy day at the Clean Slate office. Owner and head cleaner Stella Darnell is annoyed to have her routine interrupted by the news that her father has died of a heart attack.
October 1987: As a hurricane sweeps through Britain, a man's body slowly rots, locked inside an old water tower in west London. He carries no identification and fits no missing person's description. His corpse is never claimed. October 2013: The month of the great storm of St Jude. A man dies beneath a late-night Piccadilly line train. His brother insists he was murdered, but Jack, a train driver, is sure it was suicide.
Stella Darnell’s father died a year ago, but she has not moved on. He was Chief Superintendent at Hammersmith police station, and cleaning his house, Stella discovers a folder of photographs in his darkroom. The oldest photograph is dated 1966; to the very day the Moors Murderers were sent to prison for life. As Stella inches closer to the truth, the events of that day begin to haunt her too...