It is 1920 and Scotland Yard detective, DI Albert Lincoln, is still reeling from the disturbing events of the previous year. Trapped in a loveless marriage and tired of his life in London, he's pleased when he's called to a new case in the North West of England.
Before the War, he led the unsuccessful investigation into the murder of little Jimmy Rudyard in the village of Mabley Ridge in Cheshire and now a woman has been murdered there and another child is missing, the sole witness being a traumatised boy who lives in a cemetery lodge. Albert's first investigation was a failure but this time he is determined to find the truth... and the missing child.
As Albert delves into the lives of the village residents, many of whom are wealthy cotton manufacturers from nearby Manchester, he uncovers shocking secrets and obsessions. Then there is the dramatic scenery of the Ridge itself which conceals its own disturbing mysteries while the wealthy residents of big houses nearby pursue pleasure relentlessly, trying to forget the hell of the war years.
With the help of a village schoolmistress with her own secret past, Albert closes in on Jimmy's killer. Then, as more bodies are discovered, he realises that his young witness from the cemetery lodge is in grave danger, possibly from somebody he calls 'the Shadow Man'. And as he discovers more about the victims he finds information that might bring him a step closer to solving a mystery of his own - the whereabouts of his lost son.