Destiny brings three peculiar households together in the placid English countryside. The desire for money and romance drives these Victorians beyond the natural boundaries of their middle-class lives. As the web of lust and deceit draws these accidental neighbors ever closer, a financial scandal befalls one of them. An outside "rank pirate" is linked somehow to one of the neighbors. Who could it be? In this work, Arthur Conan Doyle exhibits the practiced subtlety and complexity for which he has become so well known.