Brighton in the 1870s is a popular tourist destination, but when little Sidney Barker dies mysteriously from Strychnine-poisoned chocolates the town is thrown into panic. Could it have been an accident or is someone out to harm Brighton? When more children start being poisoned by packets of sweets they find lying about the town and strange parcels of arsenic-laced cakes are sent to prominent Brighton residents the police step up the search for a serial poisoner. Who is determined to take revenge on the town? Brighton policeman, Inspector Gibbs, finds himself on the toughest case he has ever faced with what at first appears to be a motiveless crime, but as he delves into the lives of the victims he realises there is cold calculation behind the poisonings. His hunt takes him into the dark side of middle-class poverty, family insanity, and the Victorian obsession with sex and scandal.