"Castle's characters brim with zest and real feeling." Kirkus Reviews.
Though seldom strong enough to leave his rooms in brother Francis’s house, Anthony’s gouty legs never hinder his agile mind. He’s built the most valuable intelligence service in Europe. Now the Bacon brothers are ready to offer it to the patron with the deepest pockets.
Before they can open the bidding, Francis finds a body lying in the weeds near Gray’s Inn. The abandoned coach beside it belongs to Anthony. The clues point to his personal secretary. Worse, the murdered man was heard spreading rumors that could destroy Anthony’s reputation -- and his market value.
Francis thinks his brother ordered the deed done. His assistant Thomas Clarady thinks the secretary did it, with or without such orders. As Tom investigates, he hears one story after another about what happened that night. Which version is the truth? The closer he gets to finding out, the more danger gathers around Anthony. Will Tom and Trumpet, his very pregnant confidante, sort through the lies before disaster strikes?