Agnes Bell, now back in her native Yorkshire, is employed at Miss Wilkinson’s Deer House School for Young Ladies at Thorsby, and surprised to receive from her impregnably respectable superior a request to take part in a local theatrical production, including a scene from Macbeth. At once excited and slightly unnerved by the prospect, Miss Bell makes the acquaintance of Mr Gervase Keene, the famous Shakespearean actor from London, who has kindly condescended to take part by way of a favour to his friend Mr Hatfield, chairman of the governors of Deer House.
Meanwhile tragedy strikes Thorsby in the shape of a brutal murder. Shocked by the incompetence of the local policeman, Miss Bell decides to look into the matter herself. Her investigation leads her deep into the world of the ‘Fancy’: those involved in the sleazy sub-culture of mid-nineteenth century prize-fighting. And indeed, Miss Bell proves no mean fighter herself!
Though unable to prevent a second murder, and in imminent peril of her life, the indomitable Miss Bell (aka Anne Brontë?) finally succeeds in discovering the truth, and ensures that the murderer is brought to justice.