After twenty years away, Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage returns to Dungatar. Dungatar is a small country town, where the townspeople’s eccentricities are many and varied – from Sergeant Farrat’s predilection for cross-dressing, to pharmacist Almanac’s retributive scheme of potion dispensing, not to forget the affairs and assorted dark secrets.
But none of these can compare to the sin of Tilly and her mother: to have come from somewhere else. At first ostracised, the townspeople gradually accept her in order to make use of her extraordinary dressmaking skills and at last, Tilly feels that she might have found home.
But small towns are strange places, where vanity rules and, once again reviled, she sets out to teach the town a lesson. In the process she faces the ghosts of her past, and wreaks a havoc that provides a most satisfying revenge.