Eighteen years ago David Dunnigan took his beloved six year old niece Beth Christmas shopping. They stop on a crowded street to hear some carollers. She takes her hand from his for a split second. When he turns around she is gone. Now Dunnigan, his life shattered, is working as a criminology lecturer and a consultant for the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Harcourt Street specialising in cases involving Missing Persons. He becomes involved with Harry, a young boy living on the streets whose parents have disappeared. As Dunnigan finds himself drawn into the world of Bleak Alley, a transient place where the dark underbelly of society lives, will he be able to help Harry? And what of Beth will he find there?