It's every policeman's worst nightmare: a little girl has been abducted, and Falbrough CID can find no trace of her. The department's newest detective, Constable "Thorny" Deepbriar, one-time village bobby, already has his hands full. He's looking into a spate of robberies, he has two weeks to vacate Minecliff's police house, and his wife, Mary, is expecting their first child - years after giving up hope of having a family. However, when Deepbriar discovers a possible connection between the disappearance of Janey Smithers and an incident that his colleagues have swept under the carpet, he can't resist investigating. Without the approval of his superiors, he'll either crack the case, or, more likely, get himself into serious trouble.