Thomas Pitt, mainstay of Her Majesty's Special Branch, is summoned to Connaught Square mansion, where the body of a junior diplomat lies huddled in a wheelbarrow. Nearby stands the tenant of the house, the beautiful, notorious Egyptian woman Ayesha Zakhari, who falls under the shadow of suspicion. Pitt's orders are to protectat all coststhe good name of the third person in the garden: senior cabinet minister Saville Ryerson. The distinguished public servant, whispered to be Ayesha's lover, insists that she is as innocent as Pitt himself. Pitt's journey to uncover the truth takes him from Egyptian cotton fields to the insidious London slum called Seven Dialsand ultimately to a packed London courtroom in which shocking secrets will at last be revealed.