Eighteen-year-old Irene Angel lives with her parents in a tiny room above the shop where her crippled mother ekes out a living selling pickles and sauces, whilst her charming but feckless father Billy gambles away what little money they do manage to earn. And it is all Irene can do to keep the family together.
Billy's addiction soon leads him into trouble. Despite having been brought up by her father to fear and distrust the police, Irene finds herself forced to collaborate with them to save her father from ruin. But Billy's errant ways finally catch up with him and he is imprisoned in Newgate jail. With her mother away from home, a desperate Irene has little choice but to seek help from Inspector Edward Kent - her sworn enemy. For only she can clear her father's name and unite the family once more.