Verity Browne and Lord Edward Corinth are attending a memorial service in Westminster Abbey for Lord Benyon, killed a few months before when the Hindenburg airship burst into flames as it docked in New Jersey. Also present are the distinguished archaeologist Professor Pitt-Messanger and his daughter Maud. As the congregation disperses after the service, Edward hears Miss Pitt-Messanger cry for help. Her father is slumped in his seat, stabbed to death with an ancient Assyrian dagger.|
Soon afterwards Verity is invited to Swifts Hill, the house in Kent belonging to millionaire Sir Simon Castlewood. He and his wife are looking after Maud Pitt-Messanger while she recovers from her father's death. But it transpires that the old man was a selfish bully who made Maud's life miserable and prevented her from marrying the man she loved.
By coincidence, Winston Churchill has asked Edward to look into the Castlewood Foundation, set up by Sir Simon Castlewood to further medical research. There is a suspicion that Sir Simon's protege, the eminent surgeon Dominic Montillo, is using the Foundation to fund research into the so-called science of eugenics. So when Maud Pitt-Messanger is also stabbed, Edward and Verity join forces to find her killer.