Bennett's tale is set in England of the 1630's a time when the country is falling into the grip of puritanism. The hero is a diligent coroner who has managed to achieve his position despite having unpopular religious leanings. Unfortunately it is obvious from the outset of the book that his inherent honesty and humanism will inevitably bring him into conflict with the spirit of the times.
The book starts with a murder mystery that the coroner has undertaken to get to the bottom of but what follows is dark and unsettling, at times realistic and at times surreal. I don't want to spoil the plot but the way in which the author deals the original murder mystery is either careless or deliberately provocative or a clever piece of misdirection. I can't make my mind up which but the book is otherwise a very well written, thought provoking read. Just don't expect to come away filled with love for your fellow man.