As the snow falls thickly, Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie are swept along in the crowd onto the Metro. But when the train is stopped, Jessie notices that an old lady hasn’t left the train: Margaret Krukowski has been fatally stabbed as she sat on the crowded train. Arriving at the scene, DI Vera Stanhope is relieved to have an excuse to escape the festivities. Soon Vera and Joe are on their way to the south Northumberland town of Mardle, where Margaret lived. Then a second woman is murdered. Retracing Margaret’s final steps, Vera finds herself searching deep into the hidden past of this seemingly innocent neighbourhood. Why are the residents of Harbour Street so reluctant to speak?