To Mahomed's Bath House in Brighton, where the restorative powers of Dene Mahomed's "body shampoos" have earned reknown, Miss Prudence Stanhope goes in search of a sense of peace.
Lord Ramsay hopes to find peace as well. Just returned from India, he discovers what little was left of his inheritance gambled away by one brother, a second brother just returned from a runaway marriage to Gretna Green, and his sister married to the very gentleman who now holds possession of his fortune. Peace, however, is not what Prudence and Ramsay find in the bath house on the day Esther Childe keels over dead in a steam tub. They are fated to find one another, to begin a strange journey of growth and growing passion that takes them from the glittering halls of the Prince Regent's Brighton Pavilion to the distant shores of the Orient.