Cousins James and Charles Morden run a shipping company in Liverpool that is, in the wake of the Great War, struggling. It appears there have been financial irregularities, and then James Morden's body is washed up on a bank of the Mersey. Evidence points to Charles Morden, after burning a lot of papers, having fled to New York.It turns out there's an illicit side to the business - and that James Morden's wife, Lilith, is a major player.The strands of the plot seem past untangling, but the family solicitor, William Turnbull, grasps every thread and draws them all together . . .