Newspaper reporter Alec Lonsdale discovers that a series of seemingly random murders may be connected in this absorbing historical mystery. London, 1882. Alec Lonsdale, a young reporter on the Pall Mall Gazette, is working on a story about a fatal house fire. But the post-mortem on the victim produces shocking results: Patrick Donovan's death was no accident. But why would someone murder a humble shop assistant and steal part of his brain?
When a second body is discovered, its throat cut, and then a third, Lonsdale and his spirited female colleague, Hulda Friederichs, begin to uncover evidence of a conspiracy that reaches to the highest echelons of Victorian society.
Simon Beaufort is a pseudonym for a pair of academics formerly at the University of Cambridge, both now full-time writers. One is an award-winning historian, the other a successful crime writer under the name Susanna Gregory. They are the authors of the highly-acclaimed Sir Geoffrey Mappestone medieval mysteries, as well as two contemporary thrillers, The Murder House and The Killing Ship.