Ludlow Fitch escapes the terror of his daily life in the City and finds himself in the small mountain village of Pagus Parvus. His timely arrival coincides with that of Joe Zabbidou, The Secret Pawnbroker. Joe and Ludlow have many interesting midnight meetings with the Pagus Parvians as they try to rid themselves of the nasty Jeremiah Ratchet who owns most of the village. Joe Zabbidou eventually helps Ludlow cope with his own secrets and make a better life for himself in the process. Ludlow also discovers the truth behind The Black Book of Secrets.