Summoned by the wayward Lady Imogen Swain, Jemima is entrusted with the diaries she kept in 1964, diaries which contain an account of her passionate affair with Burgo Smyth MP; now Foreign Secretary but then a rising young Conservative politician.
With the increasingly eccentric Lady Imogen threatening to reveal details about the affair, and of the subsequent disappearance of a young journalist, Jemima's meeting with Lady Imogen is the first step in a sinister series of events which leads to political scandal, blackmail and murder.
Lady Imogen Swain, once a Cecil Beaton beauty, now annoys Harrod's employees by trying to return 30-year-old ball gowns in this highly civilized, unexpectedly tepid tale of political doings in Britain. During a particularly nasty general election campaign, Lady Imogen decides to tell the world what she knows about the infamous "Faber Mystery," a political scandal as old as her wardrobe. She invites Jemina Shore, TV's consummately professional investigative journalist, to her dilapidated townhouse to reveal what happened to Franklyn Faber, who vanished without a trace in the middle of his 1964 trial for selling state secrets. Could his fate, which has baffled the nation for decades, be described in one of the diaries Lady Imogen presses into her hands? Initially inclined to think not, Shore changes her mind later that evening when, after reading a few passages, it becomes clear that Lady Imogen, as former mistress to one of the players in the scandal who is currently up for reelection, does indeed know whereof she speaks. Unfortunately, the answer rests in one of the other diaries, which goes missing after Lady Imogen falls to her death that same night from her rickety balcony. Her disaffected daughters and her former lover's children are among the suspects in an intelligent tale that is filled with atmosphere but whose characters seem a bit remote.