In this third title in the Father Gabriel Mystery series, the detective priest is less than pleased to find himself the reluctant guest at a wealthy local family's Christmas party. Only the excellent – and probably black market – food softens the horror of meeting the odious Victor Gladstone, a veteran reporter, an ardent anti-clerical and the only witness to a wartime massacre no one wishes to hear about. When Victor is found dead on the Martin estate the next morning, the apparent victim of an unfortunate accident, Gabriel is drawn into the mystery of who among the family's chattering guests could have wanted the old man dead.
Gabriel quickly realizes that Victor Gladstone, like any good reporter, had a nose for rotten behavior, but as Gabriel's investigation moves towards its tragic conclusion, he faces the not one but two serious questions: Who is guilty of Gladstone's murder? and Is anyone truly innocent?
This mystery focuses on the issue of indirect involvement in evil, particularly buying and selling property stolen from victims of the Nazis and witnessing Nazi crimes.