London, 1815. Amateur sleuth Atlas Catesby is having a long-awaited night at the opera with Lady Lilliana when the notorious mistress of the powerful Marquess of Vessey is shot to death in Covent Garden. The marquess is Atlas's former brother in law, and may be responsible for the long-ago death of Atlas's sister, Phoebe. Much as Atlas wants the opportunity to avenge his sister, his third outing (after Death in Bloomsbury) is complicated when Phoebe's grown son implores Atlas to help prove Vessey's innocence. Plunging into the backstage life of the theatre community, the adventurer and the noblewoman soon discover that ruthless professional rivalries can escalate into violence.