Year after year, the villagers near Stanton Moor celebrate May Day with bonfires and the laying of rowan branches to seek protection for home and cattle. But the men who gathered this May evening hadn't come for blessings. They had come for murder. The dead body is discovered on a lonely moor, decapitated in the fashion of a Muslim killing of sacrificial sheep or chickens. Which focuses the suspicion on the Muslim community, since the victim and his family are Pakistanis. Does someone in the village resent these outsiders? Or is their small import shop too much competition for another local business?
Detective-Sergeant Brenna Taylor and other members of the Derbyshire Constabulary's Murder Team are called in to investigate, and soon a series of decapitated sheep and rabbits appears on the moor. Is this linked with the man's murder?
As fear over a second murder grips the villagers, the Team soon discovers this dead man may have had connections with an organization that smuggles illegal products into Britain. That is bad enough, but the smuggling turns from a mere criminal case to something that hits closer to home for Brenna.
In the midst of the tangle of smugglers, murder, and village secrets, Brenna fights to keep focused on the case and nab the one person who may be responsible for the trail of villainy that threatens to engulf everyone¾cop and villager alike¾connected with the moorland murders.