On the north coast of Cornwall, an apparent act of mercy is repaid by an arrest for murder. Four young women have been accused of the crime. The families are incensed, and a shocked father calls in a favor at the Home Office, asking Scotland Yard to review the case. However, Inspector Ian Rutledge is told the case is all but closed. Local police seem eager to send these four women to the infamous Bodmin Gaol. But then why hasn't the killing stopped? With no shred of evidence to clear the accused, Rutledge must plunge deep into the darkest secrets of a wild, beautiful, and dangerous place if he is to find a killer who may-- or may not-- hold the key to their fate.