Arriving in Singapore, newly-qualified pathologist Tom Howden is still questioning his decision to sign on for three years in her Majesty's Far East Land Forces. As he settles in, he discovers that his new home is a hotbed of scandal and intrigue. When an English planter is attacked one night, the finger of suspicion naturally points at local bandits, rather than a fellow Englishman. It soon becomes clear, however, that the situation is rather more complicated - and deadly - than it first appeared. Tom Howden's newly-acquired forensic skills are about to be put to the ultimate test.