Greenwich,1897. A macabre scene is discovered outside a house on Shooters Hill. There has been a vicious fight, and amid the bloodstains are locks of long auburn hair. Thomas Pitt, head of Special Branch, is called: this is the home of Dudley Kynaston, a minister with access to some of the government's most dangerous secrets, and any inquiry must be handled with utmost discretion. Although an auburn-haired housemaid is missing from Kynaston's household, with no evidence there is little Pitt can do. Until a corpse, mutilated beyond recognition, is discovered a few weeks later. As Pitt begins to investigate, he finds small inconsistencies in Kynaston's story. Are these harmless omissions, or could they lead to something more serious, something that could threaten not just Kynaston's own family but also his Queen and country?