A year ago little Stella Rivers disappeared on Mill Lane in Kinsmarkham. The memory of her unsolved disappearance is still fresh in the minds of Inspector Wexford nd his partner Mike Burden when the report comes in that a boy is missing...on Mill Lane. Burden's job is to comfort the boy's mother. But his own wife is too recently buried for him to believe youth is immunity against dying, or grief armor against the desire building between him and the woman frantic to find her son. Scant hope remains that Stella lives, yet the boy might still be saved - if Wexford can connect the clues of a limping man, a red jaguar, and an informant's tale of another child's death.