The disappearance of young acquaintance Heather Mallender from the Greek island of Rhodes sends down-at-heels caretaker Harry Barnett, suspected of killing her, back to England to retrace her steps--and to learn the secrets memorialized on her last roll of photographs. Despite the opposition of the Mallender family--whose son Roy had framed Harry for theft and kicked him out of Mallender Marine years before--Harry succeeds in linking Heather's disappearance to the death of her sister Clare, killed by an IRA bomb meant for her M.P. boss Alan Dysart, whose relationship with Harry goes back further than he can remember. Was Clare actually killed because she knew too much about the secrets of the Tyrrell Society at Brakespear College, Oxford (one member fallen or thrown from a window, two others crippled in a car crash)? Is Heather being held by her psychiatrist, Peter Kingdom (who thinks her beliefs about Clare's death delusional), in a Swiss sanitarium? And what is Harry to make of the uncanny reappearance of smarmy newshound Jonathan Minter (who turns out to be cuckolding Dysart) or of the pale figure constantly riding the trains with him? Though the layers upon layers of deception and betrayal, familiar to readers of Goddard's historical thrillers (Painting the Darkness, 1989, etc.), and compounded by Goddard's ceremonious style ("Logic he could no doubt purvey in abundance, but of true feeling he was entirely bereft"), will put some readers off, anybody who reads the first 50 pages will want to finish the rest without getting up. False friends, veiled threats, trackers of trackers of trackers, and revelations as satisfying as they are elaborately foreshadowed--altogether a superior example of the high-toned thriller.