A fork of lightning and a crash of thunder herald the completion of a heinous crime.
In woodland belonging to the eccentric Lord Wychbold, a body has been crucified on a tree. On Easter Day, the Reverend Tobias Campion returns from morning service at St Luke's and discovers the corpse, already beginning to putrefy. A crown of thorns frames his face, bludgeoned beyond recognition, and a loincloth preserves what is left of his modesty.
The victim will not rise again, though the well-concealed secrets of the village will have to if the perpetrators are to be found. After a postmortem examination fails to identify the victim, Tobias and his old friend, Dr. Hansard, pledge to uncover the truth.