In the darkness before dawn, a London railway porter discovers a man's body as he unloads a special goods train from Yorkshire, all means of identification stripped away. Hitting a dead end, Scotland Yard call on indomitable sleuth Kate Shackleton, hoping her local Yorkshire knowledge and undoubted skills at winkling out information will produce the results they need.
Fears of unrest in the Yorkshire coalfields mean that Kate must conduct her investigation with the utmost secrecy. But when she discovers that another murder occurred around the same time as the mysterious body on the train, she is convinced there must be a connection. Using her sharp instincts and persuasive charm, she begins to uncover a web of intrigue that edges her closer to the truth. But with attempts being made on her life, Kate needs all the strength and resourcefulness she can muster, before she becomes the next victim.