The bones discovered in the marsh turn out to be over 2,000 years old and belonging to the Iron Age. Ruth is excited about the discovery. Then Nelson, the detective, tells her that he had thought they could belong to a little girl, Lucy, who disappeared ten years ago. Recently, another little girl, Scarlet, has gone missing, and Nelson thinks that the two cases are linked.
Ruth helps Nelson in the cases. When Lucy disappeared, he started to receive letters with references to history, the Bible, and also literary quotations. It seems that the letters come from the person who kidnapped Lucy, and he seems to give clues about where Lucy is, but those clues are too cryptic to be understood. After going through the letters, Ruth doesn’t have anything to add.
Ten years ago Ruth and her ex-tutor uncovered a henge, and after the discovery, druids came to the area and protested when the university decided to have the henge in a museum, these people protested. One of these people is Cathbad. Ruth discovers where he is, and Nelson and she go to question him in connection with the two missing girls. The man doesn’t have much to say, but Ruth discovers that unlike what she had been made to believe, Cathbad and her ex-tutor know each other quite well as Erik was his tutor and got him a job at university.
Then Ruth finds one of her two cats dead on her doorstep. Someone has slashed her neck, and Ruth gets upset. She calls Nelson, and the detective thinks that maybe this is a warning. Who could kill an innocent creature like Sparky? Is someone afraid that Ruth might discover something?
There are some more characters apart from Ruth and Nelson. Erik, Ruth’s former tutor, returns to be with her as he has a sabbatical. Another one who returns is Peter, Ruth’s ex-boyfriend. Five years ago she split up with him because she realised that she didn’t love him any longer. Then Peter got married and had a child. Now he returns, telling her that he has broken up with his wife, and Ruth is afraid that Peter wants more from her than she is ready to give.
Other characters are her neighbours. David is the warden of the bird sanctuary, and Ed and Sammy are her weekender neighbours. Ruth don’t know them very well, but lately they have come into contact. David rescued Ruth when she lost track of time in the marshes, digging for something else, and she couldn’t find her way in the darkness and fell into a ditch. And Sammy and Ed invited her to their New Year’s party, which Ruth eventually went.
I wonder if these neighbours have anything to do with the missing girls or Ruth’s cat being killed. Nelson still thinks that Cathbad might have something to do with the disappearances, and when Ruth and Nelson visit Scarlet’s parents, they see a photograph of them with Cathbad, which is suspicious since the man didn’t mention his friendship with the Hendersons.