On a dank November day in the late 50s DI Ted Stratton is called to a murder scene in Soho. The victim is Jeremy Lloyd, a loner with a taste for religion and spirituality. Stratton's enquiries lead him to his home turf of Suffolk, where a Mr Roth has set up a spiritual foundation. There, Stratton meets Michael, a boy who has been proclaimed as the next incarnation in a long line of spiritual leaders. The boy's mother, the same woman whose photograph was cherished by Lloyd, has disappeared. When a woman's body is found in woods nearby, Stratton initially assumes he has found her, but the reality turns out to be far more terrifying.