Winter, 1906. After his adventures as an amateur sleuth, Jim Stringer is now an official railway detective, working from York Station for the mighty North Eastern Railway Company. As the rain falls incessantly on the ancient streets, the local paper carries a highly unusual story: two brothers have been shot to death. Meanwhile, Jim Stringer meets the Lost Luggage Porter, humblest among the employees of the railway company. He tells Jim a tale which leads him to the roughest part of town, hot on the trail of pickpockets, "station loungers" and other small fry of the underworld. But then in a tiny, one-room pub he enters the orbit of a dangerous villain who is playing for much higher stakes.