As Christmas 1905 approaches in New York City, the fates of two children hang in the balance.
While she’s out shopping with her young son, Liam, and her ward, Bridie, Molly Murphy Sullivan (The Edge of Dreams, 2015, etc.) comes upon a beautiful young girl with a voice like an angel singing in a doorway. Bridie, who feels sorry for the frozen-looking child, brings her some old clothes and insists on knitting her a warm scarf. When they return, little Emmy and her brother, Tig, tell them the scarf was confiscated by their aunt Hettie, who feeds them little and forces them to work the streets and sleep in a freezing attic. Molly learns that the children were left in Hettie’s care by their vanished mother. They both have English accents and are obviously very well brought up. The impetuous Molly, certain that their mother would never desert them, resolves to help them. She gets a clue when Tig recognizes his mother’s locket in a pawnshop window. Meanwhile, Daniel, Molly’s police-captain husband, is shot and wounded just as his mother arrives in New York for Christmas. Molly’s good friends and neighbors Sid and Gus take the two children in, fearing for their lives, while Molly tracks down more clues that could help establish who the children really are. Without Daniel to smooth her way, Molly finds it more difficult to get the answers she needs, but she puts her own life in danger to help the children.
Although this heartwarming story of the Christmas spirit doesn’t rank with Molly’s best cases, it details the deplorable conditions poor children suffered a century ago.