Indefatigable Inspector Ghote — one of the great creations of detective fiction — (Alexander McCall Smith), investigates a young woman's puzzling disappearance in swinging sixties London
Inspector Ganesh Ghote of the Bombay CID is determined not to put a foot wrong when he arrives in England, the land of calm, dignity and order. He is, himself, on the most dignified of missions: attending the Emergency Conference on the Smuggling of Dangerous Drugs, on behalf of his hospitalised boss.
But, almost immediately, things go wrong. Not only is his suitcase the shabbiest at the airport, but he is unexpectedly met in the Arrivals hall by a noisy, weeping relative, who clutches his feet and implores him to investigate the disappearance of a seventeen-year-old girl known, mystifyingly, as the Peacock.
Much against his will, Ghote finds himself dividing his precious time in London between his duties at the conference and his unofficial investigations — investigations which take him into a darker, seedier London than he'd ever imagined possible.