In the remote Welsh mountains, a crippled child is hidden away by her film star mother. When her gangster father insists upon visiting the child, murder and mystery ensue.
It was a Sunday morning, a morning of thin sunshine in late September — that the Daily Voice broke the story. Right across the front page in banner headlines: SWEETHEART DISAPPEARS. And went on to tell all about Sweetheart. But nobody needed to read that part, least of all regular readers of the Voice. They'd been told it all so many times before. Everyone knew. A child bent and crippled from birth, a child who would always remain in heart and mind a child — though by now she would be fourteen — innocent, beautiful despite the tormented limbs. Daughter of a famous mother — living unseen, unknown, in the guarded seclusion of a small remote farmhouse — who yet had become the nation's darling, the nation's heartbreak — "Sweetheart."
The nation's darling had vanished. Beautiful and innocent, yet destined to remain physically and mentally a child forever, she had captured the imagination and sympathy of the world. But now she had disappeared from the remote country retreat where she was kept unknown, unseen and sheltered from the public eye. Her mother and her strange Svengali-like manager, Bunny Paul, were distraught. For this to happen on the return of the child's father must be more than mere coincidence... But why had none of her public ever been allowed to see Sweetheart? Who was responsible for her mysterious disappearance? And where was she now?