When Nicholas Bracewell finds himself in the parlour of his lost love, Anne Hendrik, he is not expecting her entreaties to embroil him in the murder of a beloved choir master. Between tales of cruelty, forgotten maps of London and a butcher determined to rescue his son, it is yet another mystery for the book holder to untangle. But will his quest endanger Lord Westfield's Men? As the troupe's latest play threatens to break them apart beneath the playwright's own belligerent ribaldry, the shadow of the hangman stalks ever closer. And with every step his laughter rings with the power to turn even the hallowed stage into a gallows.