A violent and voracious fire fed by a fierce wind destroyed almost half of Montreal in April of 1734. Before the fire had burneditself out, the Prosecutor had laid an accusation or arson against the slave, Angelique, based on the public voice [hearsay] began by a fifteen year old slave of a neighbour that Angelique has sworn, before the fire, that her owner, Dame Couagne, would not sleep in her bed that night. Pouge, an investigator of sorts, searches for the truth, coming to the realization that she is innocent. His initial review of the evidence he has leads him to accept her innocence. Unable to speak with her because of the rules governing prisoners and jails, he ferrets about for evidence to support his hunch. In the process he comes to the realization that not only is she innocent, but the legal system is being manipulated to result in her conviction. His further involvement develops a sense that the system is being used by a variety of individuals for their own ends. The proceedings are bent to find her guilty, relying, in the end, on a second testimony of a four to five year old girl, who says she saw her go up the stairs inside of Dame Couagnes house with a shovelfull of coals to set the fire. Evidence was given that few houses had lit their fireplaces that day, including the house of Dame Couagne. Pouge shifts his search to determining the motives of a the colonys Intendant, Prosecutor, Judge, and Court Counsellors.The novel is based on court records.