When young John Vincent died, the outward respectability of the Cornwall household was undermined. Strangers pried, asked too many questions and pointed accusing fingers at Charlotte - herself eager to escape from the oppressive atmosphere of her father's home.
She fled deep into the countryside and there taught at a school run by the untrusting and untrustworthy Mrs Armitage, who was prepared to keep quiet about Charlotte's past - but only up to a point. When the events come to be recreated, some questions naturally arise. Had Charlotte been responsible for the death of the little pupil she loved? And has that crime been repeated?
In darker moments, even Charlotte herself cannot be sure.