Sir Hamo Strange is one of the gold masters, an elite group of international financiers in Late Victorian England whose stock-in-trade is unimaginable quantities of fine gold. Strange is also a collector of ancient books, a passion shared with his hated rival, the private banker Lord Jocelyn Peto. Their rivalry leads first to theft and then murder, bring Detective Inspector Box and Sergeant Knollys to investigate. When an audacious bullion robbery occurs at Stranges vaults, Boxs remit widens to include an underworld of fraudulent mediums and murderous thugs. Then, intervention from an unexpected quarter dramatically changes the course of his investigation.