When the bodies of the Cowpers, a reclusive middle-aged couple, are discovered brutally slaughtered - and their teenage daughter goes missing - the tiny village of Nether Bowston reels in shock. And as the townspeople mull over the first murder in a century, everyone is asking the same question; Where is Gemma Cowper? Just down the road from the murder scene, Alison Akenside divides her time between cultivating her roses and reporting for the Rutland Record. Like Gemma, Alison grew up in the village - and knows what it's like for a young girl whose dreams are far grander than her prospects. Alison searches for inside information on the murder, hoping finally to sell a story to a national newspaper. But as the case leads her into the darkest corners of this bucolic town, she realizes that not everything is what it seems. And soon Alison, like the rest of Nether Bowston, will discover what really went on behind the tightly drawn curtains of the Cowper home - and find out if Gemma is the victim of a madman ... or something much worse.