July, 1732. On a hot summer morning, Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds, is called out when a young woman is found stabbed to death among the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, just outside the city. In her pocket is a carefully-folded love note: "Soon we'll be together and our hearts can sing loud, my love, W." Her pale skin and smooth hands speak of money, but no one comes to claim her body.
When the victim's husband eventually appears, his evidence throws up more questions than answers. What happened to the maid who accompanied her mistress on her final, fatal journey? Who is the mysterious 'W' who signed the note? And why does the victim's father seem so indifferent to her death? Nottingham has to delve into the dark secrets of the rich and influential to uncover the truth.