The murders of three Christian children are being blamed on the innocent Jews of 12th century Cambridge, England in the first installment of this historical mystery series. In order to clear their name, King Henry calls for an expert, a master of the art of death, to determine who is really to blame. Instead, he gets a mistress, Adelia Aguilar, a trained physician from Salerno, Italy. She is talented, stubborn and on a dangerous mission to discover the real killer, who is still roaming Cambridge, perhaps under her very nose.
This beautifully crafted story opens with Atkinson introducing the reader to three seemingly unrelated crimes: a missing child from thirty years ago, a murderous office rampage, and a new mother who kills her husband after a mental breakdown. Private investigator Jackson Brodie has been hired to solve the cases by the loved ones left behind who desperately need closure. While the investigations have been cold for years, Brodie slowly begins to weave together the details of each one until all three have startling revelations.