When a sergeant from K Division is found, hurled from a Whitechapel window on to the iron railings below, Reid is quick to act. An investigation leads DI Reid and the H-Division to the newly emergent Chinatown - where Jackson discovers evidence of a new and devastatingly powerful opiate. Reid fears a new kind of hell is to be released on to his streets.
Only hours after she gave birth, a nameless young woman is found murdered in a stairwell at The London Hospital. The only suggestion of her identity is the strange protrusion at the base of her spine – a vestigial tail. This takes the team into the netherworld of circus freak shows and back to The London Hospital to seek help from its most celebrated resident, Joseph Merrick.
The abduction of a prominent member of the London County Council introduces Reid to Councilor Jane Cobden, the first woman appointed to the LCC – because it appears the kidnappers are radical supporters of Cobden’s aims. Long Susan is taken by force to the gang’s hideout and she soon finds herself growing sympathetic to her captors’ lives and aims.
Investigations into the brutal slaying of a Telegraph Boy lift the lid on a vice racket run from the offices of the GPO. The case leads Reid to the heart of the one of the city’s most august financial institutions. Captain Jackson seeks ever more perilous means of ridding himself and Long Susan of the suffocating debt they owe Silas Duggan.
As Reid and Drake find themselves powerless to resist the awful temptation of a final reckoning with K Division’s Jedediah Shine, so Jackson and Judge’s ever more desperate attempts to profit from that stolen diamond lead them into the teeth of the murderous agents of the De Graal monopoly.
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