On a freezing December night in 1963, the worst kind of fear strikes the secluded Derbyshire hamlet of Scardale. Thirteen-year-old Alison Carter has vanished without a trace. Against all their instincts, the self sufficient villagers are reluctantly forced to ask the outside world for help. For newly promoted Detective Inspector George Bennett, it's the first chance to show his bosses what he's made of. But in spite of his dogged efforts, her disappearance remains a mystery until he uncovers a piece of evidence that turns the investigation on its head and leads him to the gruesome answer and the apparently incontrovertible evidence of Alison's violent death.