When an obscure moneylender named William Weems is murdered in the humble Clerkenwell district, there are no mourners - and there is more than a little discreet rejoicing among those whose meager earnings he so mercilessly devoured. Yet when Inspector Pitt finds in the murdered man's office a list containing the names of some of London's most distinguished gentlemen, he begins to realize the magnitude of his duty. William Weems, it transpires, was no common usurer but a vicious blackmailer. Fortunately, Pitt's clever, well-born wife, Charlotte, has entrée to London's best society. Her insights prove to be invaluable to Pitt's investigation as she observes, at glittering balls and over gossipy tea tables, a world of passion, power, and greed that the police are seldom permitted to see.