Elspeth Duff flees from the entanglements of her relationship with Sir Richard Munro and finds refuge at the home of her titular aunt, Magdelena Cassar, on the island of Gozo in Malta. To distract Elspeth, ‘Aunt Mag’ reveals why she never married Elspeth’s uncle, Frederick Duff, and tells of the bombing on Gozo in the Second World War that killed her father and her children and destroyed her home. Magdelena’s husband disappeared shortly before the air raid and, not knowing if he is dead or alive, Magdelena asks Elspeth to find out what happened to him. Was he a traitor to the Allies? Or did he work for the British Secret Service, as he claimed? Why did Magdelena never hear from him again? Was he killed and, if so, where and how? Using her skills as an investigator and contacts in Malta, Scotland, and London, Elspeth unravels the truth.
Sir Richard is distraught and comes to Gozo to see if he can rectify his standing with Elspeth. Soon he is involved in the investigation as well.
This is the fifth book in the Elspeth Duff mystery series.