A woman is discovered beneath the London streets, barely alive. Soon after, DC Josie Chancellor finds an abandoned, newborn baby close to Leadengate station. DI Will Wagstaffe puts woman and baby together. The woman is Kerry Degg, a burlesque singer, as well as a rotten wife and mother. Kerry has bad friends, a dodgy husband and no idea about what it takes to build a family. As Kerry clings to life, Staffe hears only discord: from a well- connected West London gangster and a forgotten politician; from a maligned sister and an unborn population to whom someone, somewhere, is determined to give voice.Staffe ventures from Whitehall's clubland to Soho's fleshpots trying to make his way through a labyrinth of trails that leads above and below ground to another woman, seemingly forced - like Kerry Degg - to bear her child in captivity.In Pain of Death, DI Will Wagstaffe discovers that the simplest thing in all the world - to bear a child - lies beneath the actions of the powerful and the desperate. And will he manage to rescue both mother and child in time?