When Phoebe Dunbar, the much-younger third wife of New Labour Member of Parliament Lawton Dunbar, is found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs in their Gloucestershire manor house, the local coroner hastily dismisses her death as accidental.
But after being contacted by a Quaker elder in Dunbar’s constituency, New Scotland Yard Inspector Mick Chandra decides to investigate Phoebe’s “accident,” now suspecting there may be a link between her death and that of an eight-year-old sexually abused girl whose body was discovered in London’s Islington canal. Recently seconded to the Yard’s Pedophile Unit, Chandra and his partner Detective Sargent Elizabeth Chang are pursuing a notorious pedophile ring based in north London and masterminded by someone who calls himself The Erlking.
Learning that Dunbar was accused of sexually molesting the 10-year-old daughter of a local constituent, Mick’s suspicions increase when he discovers the girl’s father unexpectedly received a lucrative promotion with a corporation based in Brussels … after dropping all charges against the MP. Meanwhile, rumors on the streets of north London have it that a prominent Member of Parliament is part of the Erlking’s ring.
After Mick launches an investigation into the molestation allegation against Dunbar and his possible connection to the Erlking ring, Mick and his lover, Jessica Beaumont, an American concert pianist based in London, begin experiencing threatening incidents. An unseen stalker follows Jess and during a concert at the Royal Academy, a woman takes a shot at Jess from the balcony.
Then, as Mick struggles to expose the identity of the Erlking, help arrives from a most unexpected source.