In February 1902, a feast is held at the Inns of Court, during which senior barrister Alexander Dauntsey collapses and dies. When a second barrister is shot dead shortly after, Lord Francis Powerscourt is summoned to conduct a discreet investigation. His inquiries take him to the heart of legal London, where the wills of the dead can reveal the crimes of the living, and he discovers a troubled marriage, seemingly broken by the lack of children. The trail leads on, first to a grand country house, mysteriously boarded up, its past sealed within, then to a growing list of suspects including a jealous wife, a mistress fearful of being jilted, and a cuckolded husband who writes books about poisons. Powerscourt eventually finds that he too is now standing in the path of danger.