A raving, bedraggled girl is found sheltering in a barn near the Parish of Tardebigge in Worcestershire. Then the decomposing body of a small boy is unearthed by poachers in a nearby wood. Constable Thomas Potts is called upon to investigate both cases, which appear to be connected to a wagon-load of children known to have been abducted from the Poorhouse. Meanwhile Thomas’ engagement to buxom barmaid Amy Danks is threated by his widowed mother’s hatred of his sweetheart, and by the many duty calls upon his time. Torn between his desire for Amy, and his determination to discover the fates of the poor abused children, Thomas reluctantly embarks upon another gruesome and dangerous investigation.