On the day Lizzie came back from the dead, the police and her family and neighbors had already begun to search for her body. She had been missing for three days. Lizzie had never been an articulate chile, and between her confusion and amnesia she could not describe where she's been. Soon after, a convicted pedophile is released back into the community, adding to the already heightened fears of parents in the Muriel Campden Estates. Then the child of a wealthy executive disappears, and not long after, a suspect in the kidnapping is found stabbed to death.
Chief Inspector Wexford is charged with solving the mysterious disappearances, protecting a pedophile, and catching a killer. As Wexford moves closer to the truth, he confronts the discomfiting lesson that when it comes to the inner life of a family, justice is rarely as straighforward as the letter of the law.