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The British Midlands is called the "Black Country" for a reason. Bad things happen there. It's 1890 and when members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village and a human eyeball turns up in a bird's nest, the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard's new Murder Squad. Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith respond, with no idea what they're about to get into. The villagers have intense, intertwined histories. And the village itself is slowly sinking into the mines beneath it. Not even the arrival of forensics pioneer Dr. Bernard Kingsley seems to help. In fact, the more the three of them investigate, the more they realize they may never be allowed to leave.