A young boy, named Ludlow Fitch, is sick of pickpocketing for his poor parents' want of gin. At the start of the book, he is hit unconscious by them and is sent to Barton Gumbroot, the dentist who plans to buy Ludlow's teeth. Ludlow fights them off and runs away from them and their addiction to alcohol. He hitches a ride in a carriage that leads him into a place called Pagus Parvus. There, he meets a mysterious man called Joe Zabbidou, who is also a newcomer in Pagus Parvus. Joe is a pawnbroker with a difference. For Joe trades secrets, not goods, for cash. Employed as Joe's assistant, Ludlow records the villagers' fiendish confessions in an ancient leather-bound volume: "The Black Book of Secrets". There's the gravedigger who has been resurrecting bodies; the butcher who made a mouse-meat pie for his bullying father, with fatal consequences; the wizened bookseller who went to murderous lengths to get her hands on a priceless tome. Ludlow longs to trust his mysterious master, but he senses Joe has much to hide. But then Ludlow Fitch has his own, very dark, secrets ...
- Ludlow Fitch
A young boy who escapes his terrible past of the City away from his parents after they hit him unconscious and offer his teeth to a dentist called Barton Gumbroot. Ludlow arrives in a remote village in the dead of night,it is in this village where he finds the life he has dreamed of. He has a confession that haunts him every night since he had left the City and near the end of the book, he tells his confession to Joe who is a mysterious pawnbroker, who writes it in, eventually ludlow's own black book of secrets. In Pagus Parvus, he befriends a young maid called Polly, who works for Jeremiah.
- Joe Zabbidou
An unusual man who is a 'secret pawnbroker', swapping secrets for money to give to the villagers of Pagus Parvus, who are in desperate need of it. On the night of his arrival in Pagus Parvus, he offers Ludlow a job as his apprentice. He has a wooden peg leg which he keeps in his shop which he purchased in pagus parvus that once belonged to a hat maker, as well as a pet frog named Saluki, who needs trust in order to be held. He has a few secrets himself and his shadowy ways makes trouble for him and Ludlow later in the book.
- Jeremiah Rachet
A wealthy, cruel, obese man who has most of Pagus Parvus in his grasp. His wealth was derived from mainly inheritance, but also cunning and blackmail. These greedy ways cause his demise later on in the book.
F.E Higgins decided to write the book after finding a real peg leg just like Joe's. In it was contained a large amount of documents. She had found that it was, in fact, written by Ludlow himself.
The Black Book Of Secrets was shortlisted for the Bolton Children's Book Award in 2008.