1895. A senior executive at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is found in his office with a bullet hole between his eyes, a pistol discarded close by. The death has officially been ruled as suicide by local police, but with an apparent lack of motive for such action, the museum’s administrator Gladstone Marriott suspects foul play. With his cast-iron reputation for shrewdness, private enquiry agent Daniel Wilson is a natural choice to discreetly explore the situation, ably assisted by his partner, archaeologist-cum-detective Abigail Fenton. Yet with rumours of political ructions from South Africa, mislaid artefacts and a lost Shakespeare play, Wilson and Fenton soon find themselves tangled in bureaucracy.