London, 1922: Two years after helping Sherlock Holmes solve the Hangman Murders, American journalist Enoch Hale becomes even more intimately involved in another puzzling mystery. Langdale Pike, veteran purveyor of gossip to the trash newspapers, is poisoned while sipping tea with Hale – and apparently just as he is about to spill a secret more important than social gossip. With the unrequested aid of advertising copywriter Dorothy Sayers, Hale pursues a number of leads based on notes in Pike's pocket diary – including an interview with the formidable G.K. Chesterton.
His attempts to uncover the identity of one of Pike's fellow club membersbring Hale the unwanted attention of Mycroft Holmes, head of His Majesty's Secret Service, and of his younger brother. Once again Enoch Hale and the theoretically retired but far from retiring Sherlock Holmes join forces to solve a crime that may have international complications. And this time Hale himself almost becomes a victim when he gets too close to the solution. This fast-moving tale is sure to please themany fans of the first Enoch Hale – Sherlock Holmes adventure, The Amateur Executioner.