A reformed Sicilian criminal, Carmelo Trapani, has been kidnapped, and his search for the aged Carmelo leads Staffe all the way back to a terrible act at the Battle of Cable Street. Meanwhile Staffe’s own loyal servant, DS Pulford, is in Pentonville awaiting trial for the murder of Jadus Golding, the very man who attempted to murder Staffe, leaving wounds from which Staffe is still recovering, and it suits some in the hierarchy to see Pulford go down.
In Almagen, a village in the Andalucian mountains, Staffe nurses himself back from the brink of death. One day his friend, Manolo, takes Staffe to visit Almeria and tells him about a body that has been found buried in an old greenhouse. It emerges that this murder mirrors the methods of torture used during Spain’s civil war. Soon Almagen’s own secret past rises to the surface, bringing with it family feuds and an expatriate ménage of a famous British artist, a Vietnam war vet, and a beautiful German heiress.
A woman is discovered beneath the London streets, barely alive. Soon after, DC Josie Chancellor finds an abandoned, newborn baby close to Leadengate station. DI Will Wagstaffe puts woman and baby together. The woman is Kerry Degg, a burlesque singer. Kerry has bad friends, a dodgy husband and no idea about what it takes to build a family. As Kerry clings to life, Staffe hears only discord as he ventures from Whitehall’s clubland to Soho’s fleshpots trying to make his way through a labyrinth of trails that leads to another woman, seemingly forced - like Kerry Degg - to bear her child in captivity.
A murdered woman is discovered in a City hotel room: Elena Danya, high-end prostitute.Another working girl,her friend,is found dead. Then aristocractic bad-girl Arabella,another friend of Elena's,goes missing. The evidence points to a voyeuristic predator, but D.I. Will Wagstaffe is not convinced.Instead his investigation leads towards three ruthless and dangerous men: a City banker,a Russian oligarch and a Turkish playboy.
London. A city where no one feels safe and one man's crime is another man's justice. A paedophile is brutally murdered, and to protect other known offenders the police must haul the families of their victims down to the station for questioning. It's just another day in the life of DI Will "Staffe" Wagstaffe. In this case nothing is simple, least of all Staffe's personal life.