That night he dreamed in Technicolor. He saw the ochre-skinned, scantily clad siren in her black, arrowed stockings. And in Morse’s muddled computer of a mind, that siren took the name of one Joanna Franks….

The body of Joanna Franks was found at Duke’s Cut on the Oxford Canal at about 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 22nd June 1859.

At around 10:15 a.m. on a Saturday morning in 1989, the body of Chief Inspector Morse – though very much alive – was removed to Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital. Treatment for a perforated ulcer was later pronounced successful.

As Morse begins his recovery, he comes across an account of the investigation and the trial that followed Joanna Franks’ death…and becomes convinced that the two men hanged for her murder were innocent….