The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy. On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villiers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence. Villiers, not a popular man, was both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity - and it doesn't help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him. Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villiers dead - and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder.