“Death is too good for a whore like you. But He may show you mercy yet. BE PREPARED”
Celebrated singer Anna Morgan has come to Northminster to escape a troubled past and sing at the city's Handel Festival. But when she continues to receive the poisonous letters that have been plaguing her, she turns to Chief Constable Major Giles Vernon and Police Surgeon Felix Carswell to find her persecutor, drawing the two men into her charismatic orbit.
At the same time a talented young tenor is found dead in curious circumstances in a locked chapel, and the hunt for a murderer is on. Together, Vernon and Carswell must untangle the web of secrets that surround the dead man, uncovering a Northminster that throbs with clandestine passions and thwarted desires, a world of illegal pornographic books and risqué theatricals.
However, Felix finds himself bedevilled by romantic feelings for the beautiful Anna, who may or may not be his father's mistress, while Giles must face the tragedy of his own marriage before he is able to determine the truth behind the mystery of The Dead Songbird.
The Dead Songbird is the second Northminster Mystery featuring early-Victorian detectives Vernon and Carswell.