A police constable named Oliver Wicken has apparently committed suicide, leaving his mother and his invalid sister to fend for themselves. The evidence, according to the coroner, is irrefutable. Wicken was shot in the temple with his own revolver and a farewell note has been found beside his body. But new and disturbing evidence is brought to light that leads Detective Murdoch to suspect that the suicide was not what it seemed.
Whether describing a tooth extraction, the unquestioning prejudice toward the few Chinese immigrants in the city, or the well-intentioned, but bizarre, treatment of mentally ill women, Maureen Jennings once again brings late-Victorian Toronto vividly to life.