Flames leap skyward from a blitzed factory in West Ham as an air raid destroys all in its path. When the blaze threatens neighbouring houses a volunteer fireman breaks in to rescue a trapped resident - but instead finds only the body of a young woman, strangled in her bedroom. For Detective Inspector John Jago the scene brings back memories of the Soho Strangler. He suspects this woman had a secret - that she is not what she seems - and that this may be the root of her untimely end. Investigation reveals a drunken sailor may hold the key to what happened in Joan Watson's flat. But his information points Jago towards family jealousies, violence, robbery, and the underworld of political terrorism. Was Joan as innocent as her friends claim, or was she mixed up in crime? Jago must unpick multifarious motives if he hopes to reach the truth.