Susan Hooper is private secretary to bestselling author, Vivian Proudfoot. Well-spoken and well-read, she soon learns how to hold her own with London's literary sophisticates. But the attentions of Mercer Hughes, a handsome agent with a notorious reputation and a shady past, are more than a docker's daughter can cope with and she finds herself falling reluctantly in love. She is soon cut off from her father and at loggerheads with her idealistic brother Ronnie and his gadabout wife Breda. Even her old friend, newspaperman Danny Cahill, is shocked at the circles in which Susan finds herself where pimps and gangsters rub shoulders with wealthy fascist sympathisers in support of the war in Spain. As the threat of world war grows Susan is torn between loyalty to her family and a lover who will not let her go. But when the time comes to choose she finds a solution that surprises everyone.