Soon there will be a killing. Close your eyes and breathe the aroma. I can smell it right now, can't you? So powerful, so sweet. So irresistible. It's the scent of death.
The anonymous caller who taunts the Derbyshire Police with talk of an imminent killing seems to be just another hoaxer. But Detective Diane Fry begins to take him seriously when a woman is snatched from a multi-storey carpark. This was no opportunistic attack but a carefully planned abduction - and it's possible the chilling voice is telling the truth when it hints at earlier murders and bodies waiting to be found in 'the Dead Place'.
DC Ben Cooper, meanwhile, has succeeded in finding a body - or rather, a collection of bones. This comes as a shock to the deceased's family, for Audrey Steele should have left no bones. Eighteen months ago, after dying from natural causes, Audrey was cremated and her ashes scattered in Edendale Memorial Gardens.
Their investigations lead Fry and Cooper into the world of those whose lives revolve around death. And finally, in a boarded-up ancestral home that has long been the stuff of legend in the White Park, a crypt full of skulls yields its dark secrets.