In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, mother of three, is lonely and despairing, pressed for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins to receive seductive letters from a chivalrous, elegant man in West Virginia named Harry Powers, who promises to cherish and protect her, ultimately to marry her and to care for her and her children. Weeks later, the family are dead. Emily Thornhill, one of the few women in the Chicago press, covers the case and becomes deeply invested in understanding what happened to this beautiful family, particularly to the youngest child, Annabel, an enchanting girl with a precocious imagination and sense of magic. Bold and intrepid, Emily allies herself with the Chicago banker who funds the investigation and who is wracked by guilt for not saving Asta. Driven by secrets of their own, the two will stop at nothing to ensure that Powers is convicted. (Based on the true stories of Asta Eicher and serial killer Harry Powers, who also inspired the classic film Night of the Hunter.).