Sir Stephen Ball is the quiet member of the Company of Rogues. The lawyer and Member of Parliament whom the Rogues like to keep out of the action so he can act in an official capacity if necessary. Stephen, however, would dearly love an adventure.
More than that, Stephen dearly loves Laura Gardeyne, who as Laura Watcombe was his sister's best friend and as close as a sister to him. He realized too late that his feelings weren't brotherly, and anyway, he was too young to think of marriage when she married the dashing Hal Gardeyne.
Now, however, Hal is dead and Stephen visits Laura to try again to woo her. She's in no mood for romance. Someone might have tried to poison her son and a dangerous mystery hangs over the whole Gardeyne family. Stephen decides that the best way to win his beloved would be to solve the mystery and ensure Laura and Harry's safety. If his plan gets her alone with him in disguise in a small seaside town, all the better.