Earnshaw's Mill, one of last remaining foundations of Bradfield's industrial heritage, harkening back to Yorkshire's glorious past, has seen better days. As the times have changed, the future of the Earnshaw mill has become even more uncertain. With impending staff cuts necessary to keep the mill alive, the union is unhappy and the workers are threatening to strike. Racial tensions are already high enough in Bradfield's Muslim community, so with the possibility of large unemployment in town looming, trouble is in the air.
When one of the Earnshaw children turns up dead, DCI Michael Thackeray heads up the investigation into his death. The victim, a major shareholder in the company, has left no will and the future of the mill has become even more unclear.
In the meantime, Thackeray's girlfriend, reporter Laura Ackroyd, is researching a story on the racial tensions in the Muslim community. After witnessing a hostile race-related mishap on the street, she wanted to take a closer look at the circumstances underlying Bradfield's racial problems. Then she learns about the case of Saira Khan, a gifted student from a Muslim family who has gone missing and her story takes off, plunging her right into the middle of an escalating crisis. As both industrial and race relations reach the boiling point, Patricia Hall is at the top of her game in this gripping and emotional novel.