On a hot summer night, Sir John Appleby is dragged from his newly-wedded bliss to investigate a disturbing crime that predates itself.
It seems the Dromio family history is steeped in both legend and tragedy. With a long-unbroken tradition of twin male heirs, Sir Romeo Dromio lost his mind when his wife gave birth to triplets. In a fit of madness, he set the nursery on fire and rescued only one of his infant sons.
Now, the family business is failing, and the surviving triplet Oliver has gone abroad in search of a solution to their ailing fortunes. Lady Dromio and her adopted daughter, Lucy, anxiously await his return, and tensions run high as his arrival home draws near. Lady Dromio fusses over the service, the Reverend is hallucinating, Lucy’s odd remarks become sinister threats, and Mrs Gollifer is hiding something.
The household squabbles are drawn to an abrupt halt when Oliver is found dead in the study, his body smoldering in the fireplace. And when another body shows up, Appleby must sift through family secrets, spurned lovers, and false confessions to identify the killer before the whole thing goes up in flames.