In England, 1923, The Honorable Daisy Dalrymple has made a decision that, while shocking to her class, is in perfect keeping with the spirit of the times. Rather than live with relatives until she marries, she has decided to make her own living with her writing. Her series of articles on country manor homes has proven to be a success, and she travels to Occles Hall to research her latest piece.
What she finds is a household under the thumb of the ill-tempered and demanding Lady Valeria. And the discovery of the body of a pregnant maid buried in the winter garden does nothing to improve Lady Valeria's mood. A young Welsh under-gardener is arrested for the crime but Daisy is sure of his innocence. Wary of the air of secrecy that permeates Occles Hall, Daisy convinces Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard to investigate further - a murder that is more complex and horrifying than either could have imagined.