The Peak District in the 1870’s was a land of stark contrasts. The wildness of the local countryside is now being crossed by the new railways transporting raw materials to satisfy the insatiable demand of the Industrial Revolution. Newly promoted Sergeant Sam Spray, now in charge of his own office, has a murder case to solve. The female victim looks as if she recently been in the Workhouse. A further concern is that her breasts are full of milk but of a baby there is no sign.
The case will lay bare the world of Victorian prudery and hypocrisy. A further murder will also connect the crimes to fraud in the highest places. Sergeant Spray is again aided by Constable William Archer who finds himself being diverted by a flirtatious Irish maid. Spray must also help his superior officer Superintendent Wayland, commonly known as ‘The Whale’, with a difficult problem from his past involving the disappearance a young woman and her baby. This unofficial request will start to have striking parallels with the murder case he is working on.