A disgraced knight with an unwanted affinity for reliquaries is involved in yet another puzzle involving one.
Crispin Guest, the Tracker, lost his status and almost his head when he followed his conscience in his choice for king. Now he tries to maintain his knightly skills while earning a living as a solver of puzzles (Season of Blood, 2017, etc.). He lives in London in a former shop with his apprentice, Jack Tucker, and Jack's very pregnant wife, Isabel. Crispin is approached by Father Bulthius of St. Modwen’s Church, who claims that corpses from his graveyard climb out and walk by night and begs Crispin to come and see for himself. Although they find signs of disturbances and corpses with blood on their mouths, Crispin, ever the skeptic, seeks another answer for the strange goings-on. More important to him is a summons from Philippa Walcote, the woman he loved, who married another man. Philippa and her husband, Clarence, beg Crispin to save Christopher, their 7-year-old son, from a pending murder charge. Accused of stabbing their neighbor John Horne and trying to steal a relic, the boy says only that it was his fault. And no wonder, for he was in the room where Horne died, and his knife was the weapon. Crispin is shocked to discover that Christopher looks just like he did as a child and is obviously his own son. Fortunately, one of the two sheriffs admires his skills and gives him free rein to investigate. The missing relic, a bone stored in a red painted cow statue, attributed to St. Modwen, turns up at Crispin’s home, and, although he returns it to Horne’s not noticeably grieving widow, it just keeps reappearing. Crispin works hard with Jack to solve the churchyard puzzle, but even harder to save his son from death.
A bit of history and folklore and a touch of romance combine to challenge the faithful hero in a case closest to his heart.