With a serial killer loose on Carnival Row, and a government that turns a blind eye to the deaths of its lower class citizens, Rycroft Philostrate, a war-hardened investigator, is the only person willing to stop the murders and maintain the fragile peace. But when Vignette Stonemoss, a faerie refugee, turns up in the Burgue, she forces Philo to reckon with a past he's tried to forget.
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Rycroft “Philo” Philostrate investigates “Unseelie Jack”, a mysterious assailant with a grudge against the fae. Vignette Stonemoss barely escapes Tirnanoc with her life and arrives in The Burgue looking for a fresh start. Imogen Spurnrose meets her new neighbor. In Parliament, the fight over the critch heats up.
Philo investigates the murder of his childhood headmaster. Vignette ingratiates herself into the Black Raven. Imogen hatches a plan to help her brother. Breakspear goes on the offensive with Longerbane.
Philo consults a Haruspex in an effort to find clues about the killer. Vignette grows closer with her newfound family. Upon Jonah’s return home, his parents cast a more watchful eye over him as a new player makes a splash in Parliament. Imogen brings Agreus into her circle.
The pieces of the puzzle start to come together for Philo. Vignette finds home in a place she never expected. Jonah sneaks off to see someone he shouldn’t. Imogen and Agreus step out together in public.
Because he withheld evidence from his fellow detectives, Philo is accused of being the man behind the string of murders and is thrown in jail. There, he finds some unexpected help from Vignette. Elsewhere, Ezra takes exception to Imogen’s relationship with Agreus. Sophie offers Jonah a deal.
As tensions rise on Carnival Row, Philo must confront both darkness incarnate and the evil that controls it. Vignette gleans the true nature of The Burgue. Imogen lets her feelings for Agreus go unbridled. Breakspear's secrets catch up to him.