When Kirsten Harbourn is found strangled and naked on her wedding day, DI Wesley Peterson makes some alarming discoveries. Kirsten was being pursued by an obsessed stalker and she had dark secrets her doting fiance, Peter, knew nothing about.
But Kirsten's wasn't the only wedding planned to take place that July day in South Devon. At Morbay register office a terrified young girl makes her wedding vows. And a few days later her bridegroom is found dead in a seedy seaside hotel. As Wesley investigates he suspects that his death and his bride's subsequent disappearance might be linked to Kirsten's murder.
Meanwhile the skeleton of a young female is found buried in a farmer's field - a field that once belonged to the family of Ralph Strong, an Elizabethan playwright whose play, 'The Fair Wife of Padua' is to be performed for the first time in four hundred years. Is this bloodthirsty play a confession to a murder committed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1? Or does it tell another story, one that might cast light on recent mysteries?