Carmona is lucky not to marry Alan Field. Charming though he may be, the young man is a rascal, and though her heart breaks when he disappears on the eve of their wedding, she is surely much better off. By the time she learns that Alan has decamped for South America, she has already given her heart to a more deserving suitor.
Several years later, Alan reappears—desperate for money and as charming as ever. An author is writing a biography of Alan’s late father, and it is up to the prodigal son to go through his father’s letters. He finds a bundle of scandalous correspondence, and begins to form a plan. It begins as blackmail, but quickly spins out of control. By the time the first body appears, the prim detective Maud Silver is already on the case.