A drunkard stumbles into Mickelgate Bar police station in the ancient city of York and reports having recovered the memory of witnessing a murder being committed. The police, initially sceptical, investigate the man's claim and discover the body of a young woman in a shallow grave in an area of rural waste ground. The grave appears to have been marked and three other similar markers are noticed. The waste ground begins to give up dark secrets and a chilling link is made to an innocent looking corner shop in the city. Detective Chief Inspector Hennessey's investigation leads to the solving of a series of disappearances which, to his professional embarrassment, had not been linked, and which by tragic coincidence leads him to revisit his own past and the tragedy therein.