In the late winter of 1979, Leeds housewife Ellen Heenan dies in childbirth – abandoning a guilt-stricken husband to insanity’s grasp and leaving four young children to find for themselves.
Thirteen-year-old Matthew and Annie, age twelve, know what the authorities will do if the learn of Father’s debilitating madness. A close-knit family will be speedily unravelled, its threads scattered carelessly to the winds. So deception is the only recourse – a façade of normalcy that must be carefully constructed to fool prying neighbourhood eyes. And resourceful young Matthew and his sister have the situation well in hand – until a freshly slain corpse turns up beneath the kitchen window . . .