Mary, a desperately poor cleaner, is a witness to murder. Archie, one of the first artists to work for the police, draws the man she says she saw. Fascinated by her ‘face full of bones’, he persuades her to sit for a portrait, but the man who buys the picture would rather buy Mary herself. He doesn’t realise the jeopardy his art has placed them in.
Archie has no idea how this one woman links his wealthiest clients, the grimmest slums, dangerous secrets, and a violent obsessive man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
As her gripping thriller uncoils, Jacqueline Jacques paints an intricate, vibrant picture of the myriad layers of Victorian London, where the poor are commodities, criminals have nothing to lose and the rich can buy almost anything.