Sarah Brandt is shattered when she learns that a woman has inquired at the Daughters of Hope Mission for Catherine, the abandoned child she has taken as her daughter. The woman claims she was Catherine’s nursemaid, and is now acting on behalf of the girl’s mother to reunite them. Unwilling to simply hand Catherine over to a complete stranger, Sarah asks Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to investigate. But when he goes to interview the woman at her tenement in Chelsea, he finds she has been murdered. Though her death leaves Sarah’s claim to Catherine unchallenged, her sense of justice compels her to work with Malloy to find the killer. Their search takes them from the marble mansions of the Upper West Side to the dilapidated dwellings of lower Manhattan and into the deepest and darkest secrets of Catherine’s past.