At Christmastide, 1827, in a boarding house in Edinburgh's West Port, an old army pensioner dies of natural causes. He owes the landlord £4 rent. Instead of burying the body, the landlord, William Hare, and his friend William Burke fill the coffin with bark and sell the corpse to Dr Robert Knox, an ambitious anatomist. They make a profit of £3.10s.
After this encouraging outcome, Burke and Hare decide to suffocate another sickly tenant. So begins the criminal career of the most notorious double act in the history of serial murder.