The slums of Dublin are a lonely place for Katherine Donovan. Her father is one of the most hated men in the district, notorious for his viciousness. Her one friend is eight-year-old Ceppi, as much an emotional orphan as 18-year-old Katherine. When her father is murdered in the unrest surrounding the docker's strike, Katherine, fearing for her life, flees to Liverpool with her father's money, taking Ceppi with her. She finds a refuge for herself and Ceppi with the Moore family, until the eldest Moore boy's unnatural interest in Ceppi convinces Katherine that they must move on.
Using the last of her money to rent a ramshackle lodging house, she discovers to her horror that one of her tenants is not the respectable salesman he claims to be. She is harbouring an murderer, abortionist, and disgraced doctor, a man who is threatening her safety and that of the little girl she promised to protect....
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