Jealousy, lust, avarice - who knows what it is that drives a monster like James Bloomfield Rush to behave as he does?
James Bloomfield Rush shocks Victorian England when he becomes a cause celebre for the most heinous of crimes in the county of Norfolk.
Born at the start of the 19th century, the illigitimate child of Mary Bloomfield, James is not only a sinister young man, but a rogue too. By the kindness of the man his mother afterwards marries, he is allowed to take his step-father's name, enjoys the privilege of a superior education and at twenty-one is given sufficient capital to start his own farm.
Marrying Susannah, a well connected local girl, he dominates his meek wife. Having impregnated her once a year she gives him a large family finally exhausting herself to an early death. Or did she perish by another's hand?
Who shall he choose to rear his nine children? A refined governess or a cheap tart?
As James prospers he desires Stanfield Hall. Whatever it takes it will be his, but as his greed guides him so his debts are mounting. Imminent bankruptcy is looming and he must find a solution. Why then is his step-father found dead in mysterious circumstances? What happened that brought about his mother's unexpected demise? But it doesn't stop there...