A man confesses to a crime he didn't commit. And the name he gives to Scotland Yard is not his own, it's another man's. When he is found floating in the Thames, a murder victim himself, and is finally identified, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge must rethink all that he believed he knew about the case, and suddenly finds three murders on his hands. There is no apparent motives for any of them, only a very tenuous connection with a village that will do anything to protect itself from notoriety. For notoriety brings the curious, and with the curious comes change and an unwelcome spotlight on one act of evil that even two centuries later will damn them all.