Set in the same world as The Craftsman, senior policewoman Florence Lovelady visits the man she put away for murder 30 years earlier. It is the last time she and Larry Glassbrook will meet. He is dying. He wants her to go back to Sabden, in the shadow of Pendle Hill where they met. Four child skeletons have been uncovered near a children's home and Larry, who knows a bit about rotting corpses, isn't buying the official line that these are ancient remains. 'You knew there was something wrong in that town, Florence,' he says. 'More than just me.'
Flossie can't get Larry's words out of her head, especially when she remembers Marigold McGowan, a young mother who disappeared, together with her baby, and were never seen again. Marigold, Florence remembers, had connections to the children's home. Reasoning that Larry may be right, that Sabden could bring her the closure she has looked for all these years, Florence decides to return.
Meanwhile, Larry's eldest daughter, Cassie, is liberated by the news of her father's death. Now, at last, she is free to go back to her home town and win back the love of the man she lost 30 years earlier. It matters not to Cassie that he is married, a father and grandfather. She doesn't care that by going home she might be unearthing secrets that are best left hidden, or that there could be a very good reason why she and this man should not be together. Cassie will stop at nothing to get him back.