Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandilands is on leave, wending his way through France to the Riviera. En route, he stops off at a chateau in the Lubéron, where his niece is to join her father as one of the guests of a generous yet enigmatic host. But arriving at the chateau, they find that a troubling crime has been committed recently. Joe stays on to allay a rising sense of panic and root out the guilty. But despite his vigilance, first a child disappears; then an artist’s model is murdered in circumstances that eerily recreate a centuries-old crime of passion. As Joe delves ever deeper, a tale of horror unfolds that eventually unmasks the blighted soul behind the spate of recent crimes.