Norwich in the 1760s is one of the most prosperous cities in England, finding its wealth in the booming trade in fine worsted cloth, richly dyed and embroidered. So when a leading cloth-manufacturer is found murdered and his business totters on the brink of collapse, everyone fears his fall will ruin hundreds of working families and cause the economy of the whole county to collapse.
In near panic, the mayor and aldermen turn to an unlikely person to solve the riddle: Mr. Ashmole Foxe, a man who claims to be a mere bookseller, yet lives in grand style, dresses like a dandy and associates as easily with the demi-monde as the gentry.
With few firm clues to go on and every sign the dead man himself had been hiding many secrets, Mr Foxe sets out to do as the City Fathers want. Who benefited from the death? Why had the murdered man been stockpiling cloth for months? Who is the stranger now trying to buy up all this surplus stock and what will he do with it?
Follow Mr Foxe through Norwich’s teeming 18th-century streets as he seeks out the answers and tracks down a killer with more than profit on his mind.