Infants are being snatched from their cribs in a baby-selling scam, leaving a string of grieving parents and perplexed police departments from San Diego to Seattle. A penny whistle flute is left in each empty crib, leading the news media to dub the kidnapper The Pied Piper. The public is howling, the politicians are nervous and parents and police are being hounded by the press. When the baby snatcher moves to Seattle and steals a 5-month-old girl while her parents are out for dinner --- leaving the sitter unconscious --- Police Detective Lou Boldt is called in to consult and help solve the case.
The FBI, on the case for six months to no avail, charges in to try to command the investigation already underway by the local Task Force, headed by Sgt. John LaMoia, Boldt's replacement in the detective division. Boldt has been kicked upstairs to head up the SPD Intelligence Division while his wife is in the hospital for treatment of leukemia.
A second baby disappears and her sitter is killed during the kidnaping. Clues begin to fall into place and Boldt, forensic pathologist Daphne Matthews and the Task Force feel certain they are on the right track. Then the evidence dries up and they find themselves against the wall. Someone is sabotaging the investigation, but why? Is it a local cop, someone in the news media, or is it a rogue FBI agent?