For Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, returning to the Sussex coast after seven months abroad was especially sweet. There was even a mystery to solve--the unexplained disappearance of an entire colony of bees from one of Holmes's beloved hives. But the anticipated sweetness of their homecoming is quickly tempered by a galling memory from the past. Mary had met Damian Adler only once before, when the surrealist painter had been charged with--and exonerated from--murder. Now the troubled young man is enlisting the Holmeses' help again, this time in a desperate search for his missing wife and child.
Mary has often observed that there are many kinds of madness, and before this case yields its shattering solution she'll come into dangerous contact with a fair number of them. From suicides at Stonehenge to the dark secrets of a young woman's past on the streets of Shanghai, Mary will find herself on the trail of a killer more dangerous than any she's ever faced--a killer Sherlock Holmes himself may be protecting for reasons near and dear to his heart.