On New Year's Day, 1900, the brilliant violinist Sebastian Cavendish is found dead.
The last few days of his life are a mystery, but in the final hours of 1899 he wrote a cryptic suicide note mentioning a 'cursed inheritance', took poison, and died in agony. Yet his friends and relations are utterly perplexed.
The man they knew and grieve for was vivacious, exuberant and extroverted.
His fellow musicians speak of his passion, his drive, and his love of living.
The socialites he met, all of whom lavished him with praise, saw only a dazzling future ahead of him.
So why, his loved ones ask, would he change his plans at such short notice, disappear for days on end, and take his own life? Established detective Vanessa Weatherburn is engaged to investigate the dead man's final movements.
It is a journey which will reveal to her the science of genetics, the history of Sebastian's equally brilliant grandfather and the long-kept secrets of the Cavendish family.
She must cross continents and trace every lead if she is to uncover the mystery of Sebastian's inheritance, and why it meant his death.