1817. Upon receiving a letter from an old family friend, Catherine Van Emden returns from Holland to find her father dead. She refuses to believe the middle-aged man died of natural causes, and the suspicious circumstances of his life during the past few months compel her to ask Peter and Paul Skillen for help. Why would a successful engineer suddenly begin begging for alms on the streets? Had he refused to ask for help, or was he prevented from doing so? When his body is revealed missing from the casket, the twins embark on a chase of funerary agents, barmaids and body snatchers, trying to solve the mystery of George Parry's alleged death before their Bow Street rivals.