High summer in the year of our Lord 1365, and Owen Archer finds himself once again called upon by Archbishop Thoresby to exercise his skills as detective.
While York celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi, a man is murdered in the shadow of the Minster, his right hand severed. All the evidence points to a wool merchant last seen quarrelling with the dead man.
But a complex web of rivalries surrounds the wool traders, and Owen is unsure where to turn first. His only witness is a young boy, his only suspect a mysterious hooded woman - and neither can be found.
With Thoresby preoccupied at Windsor with the King, Owen is under intense pressure to solve the case, but he soon finds himself ensnared in a plot devised by very powerful masters...