Magdalene la Bâtarde is the madam of the Old Priory Guesthouse in Southwark. She and her women are expected to engage in a number of sinful delights, but bloody murder isn't one of them—until Baldassare, the messenger, dies.
Though Baldassare wasn't a regular client of the Old Priory Guesthouse, Magdalene and her women refuse to allow his death to go unavenged. Of course, their efforts aren't completely altruistic. Chances are if they don't find the killer, they will be assumed guilty because they are whores, and they will be gutted and hanged.
Into this sea of intrigue steps the handsome Sir Bellamy of Itchen. The bishop of Winchester, who was served for many years by Baldassare, orders Bellamy, his most trusted knight, to investigate the murder and tells him that Magdalene has been accused of the crime. Bellamy is instantly captivated by his chief suspect but is also convinced that she is hiding something. Sure that she is involved in the messenger's death right up to her beautiful eyebrows but unable to believe she's a killer, Bellamy must find out how and why Baldassare died—or watch the mysterious Magdalene meet her fate on the gallows.