1848. The Spring of Nations. Year of pitchfork-wagging across the capitals of Europe. In Manchester the wife of the Cross St Chapel minister publishes a ple a for understanding the hot passions of the working poor. A first attempt at a novel, drawing on the shooting of mill-owner Thomas Ashton on Apethorn Lane, Hyde, in 1831. Written to distract herself from the death of her infant son, is the hysteria submersed in the text a reflection of the author’s own inner grief..?