1893. Wigan is in the grip of a harsh winter and a devastating national miners' strike. Arthur Morris, a wealthy colliery owner whose determination to cut the miners' pay is one of the main causes of the strike, is found brutally murdered in an alleyway. A sinister letter prompted the victim to leave his dinner guests and hurry out into the freezing night to Scholes, a rough working-class district where he is universally hated. Detective Sergeant Brennan is tasked with finding the murderer and when a mysterious stranger is found bludgeoned to death, Brennan starts to unravel a twisted thread of interwoven clues.