Trying to build her fledgling shop and keep her young son and cat fed, Dido Hoare, London's most intrepid antiquarian bookseller, needs some good luck. Her break comes when the aged and daunting Clare Templeton Forbes, the ex-lover of a celebrated American modernist poet, offers Dido her prized personal library - a bookseller's dream come true.
Dido's luck, however, vanishes as quickly as it arrives. First, Clare dies when a suspicious fire destroys her house. Then a valuable stolen manuscript winds up in Dido's possession-bringing the police straight to her door. Someone wanted Clare dead and Dido out of the picture. But who? And why? With the help of her father, a retired researcher, Dido leaves no page unturned to find a clever killer before he can close the book on her.