The time is 1734, the place Leeds, the problem multiple murders.
As constable of Leeds, Richard Nottingham, along with his friend and able assistant John Sedgwick and Rob Lister, his daughter Emily’s boyfriend, tries to keep crime to a minimum. The city’s wealth is built on the wool trade, but a good many of its people live in abject poverty. So when a young rural lad comes looking for his runaway sister, Nottingham is not optimistic, since most young girls who arrive seeking a better life end up as prostitutes. Before Nottingham can discover anything, the young man is found with his throat cut. But that’s not the constable’s only problem. Emily, who’s running a charity school for poor girls, has been materially assisted by donations from a wealthy wool merchant and his friends. Now, someone is vandalizing the school. Despite Nottingham’s best efforts, the destruction continues. The return of Tom Finer, a criminal Nottingham had thought dead, brings new problems when he strikes a deal with the powers that be to reopen the town’s dreaded workhouse. Even worse, the murdered man’s runaway sister is found dead in the river, and another young woman is found in a shallow grave; neither body shows any apparent signs of violence. The murder of his wife (At The Dying of the Year, 2013) has killed Nottingham’s zest for life, but since he still loves his family, his friends and the city he is sworn to protect, he doggedly continues his search for what may be a serial killer.
To Nickson’s customary historical detail and social commentary, Nottingham’s latest adventure adds twists that may leave fans stunned.