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. An auburn-haired maid has disappeared from Kynaston's household, but no major crime appears to have taken place. Then a disfigured body is found in the gravel pits nearby. Could this be Kynaston's missing servant? 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?