In the village of Swifford Lea live the Webb sisters, two nonagenarians whose memories hold great value to the local University's Social History and Folklore department, and need to be tapped before it is too late. The best woman for the job is Dr Rhianna 'Anna' Summers but she is currently dealing with memories of her own. Having resigned from her post after the horrific death of her husband and child, Anna takes some persuading to take up another research post. However, the prospect of handing over the Webb sisters to an unscrupulous academic rival proves to be the spur Anna needs. The village is one of four Swiffords: Lea, Holt, Maisey and Fen, set on an isolated peninsula and largely untouched by tourism. Only Anna finds village life far from idyllic. On the very day she arrives a teenage girl in Swifford Maisey viciously attacks her family before turning her axe on herself. But this bloody act is merely the start of the trouble, as a spate of brutal - and seemingly random - murders strikes at the heart of village life, turning neighbour against neighbour and casting suspicion on incomer and local alike. For in this quiet English backwater evil lurks.