In this unusual murder mystery, the tranquility of Saint Mary's Abbey is shattered by the discovery of a gruesome crime in a cottage on the abbey grounds. A foreign artist and war hero seeking refuge from the world has been murdered. Marie Paige, the frail, sickly wife of the village doctor, lies beside him beaten into a coma.
The police arrest Marie's husband, convinced that they are looking at a crime of passion. But Dr. Paige finds himself with an unlikely champion: Fr. Gabriel, a blundering but brilliant Benedictine priest who believes in his innocence and feels compelled to search for the truth.
In a country struggling to come to terms with the devastation of the Second World War, even a secluded English village has its share of secrets and broken lives. It is not long before Fr. Gabriel and his companions find themselves embarking on a dangerous journey into the victims' troubled war histories and a chapter of Europe's bloodiest conflict that is almost too terrible to be acknowledged.