Philadelphia heiress and amateur sleuth Martha Beale investigates the kidnapping of a society girl on the verge of marriage in Cordelia Frances Biddle's second Martha Beale mystery Martha Beale, now the guardian of seven-year-old Ella and five-year-old Cai, has just returned to Philadelphia after summering in the country. The children have to begin school, and Martha looks forward to a reunion with Thomas Kelman, even though she isn't sure where their relationship stands. But a string of robberies is plaguing the city and the nineteen-year-old daughter of one of Philadelphia's wealthiest families has vanished. With no unified police force, the mayor depends on Thomas Kelman to sort out criminal matters. Martha reluctantly acts as a liaison between Thomas and the missing girl's parents, but the investigation soon takes a darker turn. As suspicion falls on rich and poor alike, both the guilty and innocent become ensnared in a web of deception and escalating violence.