Phoebe Dunbar, the beautiful, much-younger third wife of a popular British Member of Parliament, is found dead in her Gloucestershire manor house. The corpse of 8-year-old Josie Stephens is found floating in a north London canal. These two seemingly-unrelated crimes will test the mettle of Detective Inspector Mick Chandra of New Scotland Yard. Together with his capable partner, Sergeant Elizabeth Chang, he must enter into the dark world of pedophiles, where believers see no wrong in abusing children. What did Phoebe know? Who would want this beautiful child and compassionate woman dead? The leader of the pedophile ring calls himself The Erlking, a title lifted from a popular poem by Goethe, the 19th century German poet. When Mick reveals the identity of the Erlking, all hell breaks loose in Westminister.