When Sabina, the blind mistress of the Old Priory Guesthouse, accepts the offer of Master Mainard to live exclusively with him, everyone expects that Mainard's wife, Bertrild, would be glad to be rid of him since his face is horribly birthmarked.
This was far from the truth. Bertrild attacks Sabina and demands that Mainard send her back to the whorehouse. Before Mainard and Sabina can decide what to do, Bertrild is murdered, and Mainard is the chief suspect.
Fearful that her lover will be hung for murder, Sabina flees to her old whoremistress, Magdalene la Betarde, for help. Magdalene is no stranger to murder and will use her powerful friends to help the women who work for her, including Sir Bellamy of Itchen, who reunites with Magdalene in unraveling this tangled web of hatred, fear, and blackmail.