Unlikely as it may seem, the Countess Ashby de la Zouche finds herself with cash to spare when her gossip column and a lucrative sideline in sleuthing begin to pay dividends. Unlikelier still, she is determined to do the sensible thing and invest it, caught up in London society’s new craze for speculation in bonds and patents.
Against the advice of an aspiring novelist with a grievance, the Countess and Alpiew seek sound investment tips from a variety of unsound bankers and brokers and land themselves in all sorts of trouble. Supposing a treasure of unimaginable worth to be secreted in the ladies’ run-down abode, burglars of every description – from hirsute fez-wearing dwarfs of amazing agility to runaway highwaymen and dusty Black Guard boys – are soon beating a path to the German street and leaving a trail of corpses in their wake.
Clueless, the ladies turn to Cupid for help. And as their quest takes them on a whirlwind tour of seventeenth century London’s more unsavoury attractions – Tyburn Tree, the Clink and Ludgate, not to mention Laura’s Lace Emporium – with all manner of villains in pursuit, the Countess and Alpiew need all the help they can get.