Anxious to escape from both the memories of her dead grandparents, as well as a myriad of elderly aunts -- all eager to convince her to settled down and become a wife, mother, and bastion of Philadelphia society, Dr. Victoria Rose Thorne arrives in Manchester, to take over her cousin's medical practice.
Although she finds the town and nearly all its occupants pleasant, she soon discovers this isn't the sleepy, problem-free place she'd hoped it would be. First one young girl's body is discovered, and then another. Something she would never have believed is going on. But, only a select few of the town's people are privy to the horror they suspect.
And Dr. Thorne, along with her new friends, are not going to let these atrocities continue. But, even as the body count continues to rise, they are no nearer to finding out anything. So now, Pinkerton detectives are brought in as backup.
But even they are failing. So, it's all up to Dr. Thorne.
Several days later, the street door to the surgery opened and a young man of average height and weight, with dark hair and eyes, entered. Stumbled in would probably be more correct, for he was white as a sheet. His undershirt and trousers were wet with blood, which ran down the wrapped hand he supported with the other.
"Hurry and sit," the doctor said, "before you fall down."
The man sagged down in a chair, and took a number of deep breaths.
"Well," Victoria said, as she began the gentle removing of the blood soaked shirt wrapped tightly around his hand, so she could examine the injury, "how did you manage this?"
"Sheer stupidity!" he exclaimed, in a surprisingly loud voice for one so pale.
"Kit," the doctor called. When the girl came from the kitchen, Victoria said, "Would you bring me a basin of warm water, several clean towels, some cotton wool, and bandages, please?"
"Yes, ma'am." She retreated back to the kitchen.
Victoria repeated, "Now, seriously, how did you cut yourself?"
"I told you, woman, stupidity -- plain and simple. Now," the man said petulantly, "could you just go get the doctor?"
"I have a feeling you aren't going to be happy, but I am the doctor," Victoria answered, as Kit came in with the basin of water, clothes, and bandages.
"I'm afraid so," she told him, with a wry smile. She turned to Kit and added, "I'm going to need to stitch this. You know what I'll need."
"Oh, hush," Victoria said, with a smile, "they won't hurt half as much as this cut repeatedly opening up because you didn't get them."
"Why don't we introduce ourselves," she said, as she blotted off the worst of the blood. "I'll start, shall I? I am Dr. Victoria Thorne. I've only recently arrived from Philadelphia, and so far, I love Manchester."
"A Philadelphia doctor, huh," the man said. He eyed her sharply and asked, "I don't suppose you can prove you're a doctor, can you?"
"As a matter of fact," Victoria said, pointing to the framed diploma she'd only hung on the wall the day before, "I can."
The man examined the document as best as he could from where he sat, before he asked, "So, you are Dr. Victoria R. Thorne. What does the 'R' stand for?"
"I'm very sorry to say, 'Rose.' I'd like to say I was given it because it was my mother's name. But, I'm afraid my father just found it amusing." She frowned, and asked, "Now, it's your turn."
"I'm Neil Stratton. I only just recently purchased a small farm a little ways outside of town."
"Well, it's nice to meet you, Mr. Stratton. However, I'd much rather have met you after church or somewhere else, and not under these circumstances." She wrung out a cloth, and warned him, "This is going to sting," before she began a thorough cleaning.