The arrival of an enigmatic stranger wreaks havoc on the denizens of the idyllic English village of Little Camborne; most notably two apparently harmless women. Miss Finch and Miss Swallow, cousins, have put their pasts behind them and settled into conventional country life. But when Theodore Cadmus – from Caldera, a Mediterranean island nobody has heard of – moves into the middle cottage, the safe monotony of their lives is shattered. The fates of the two cousins and Mr Cadmus, and those of Little Camborne and Caldera, become inextricably enmeshed. Long-hidden secrets and long-held grudges threaten to surface, drawing all into a vortex of subterfuge, theft, violence, mayhem and murder.