Baltimore local Tess Monaghan thought she knew the Sugar House the abandoned factory that remains a stubborn and defiant legacy of the city's past until a client named Ruthie asks the newspaperwoman-turned-p.i. to investigate a year-old Jane Doe murder and its grim aftermath. Ruthie's low-life brother, Henry, confessed to killing a teenage runaway over a bottle of glue and, a month into his prison term, met the same fate as his victim. Following a precious few tantalizing clues, Tess's hunt for the truth is leading her from Baltimore's exclusive Inner Harbor to the city's seediest neighborhoods a hunt that turns deadly with the shocking discovery of the runaway's true identity. Suddenly, a supposedly solved murder case is turning up newer, fresher corpses and newer, scarier versions of the Sugar House places that look sweet and safe . . . but only from the outside.