Nicholas Bracewell, the book holder and stage manager for the popular London theater troupe Westfield's Men, has a few problems on his hands. Edmund Hoode, the troupe's talented playwright, has fallen ill and is unable to complete his next opus. But is his illness from natural causes or is something more sinister afoot? An absentee landlord seems to have coincided with a few unusual events at the inn the troupe calls home. A gambler has moved in upstairs and proceeds to take money off many of the actors, something the regular landlord would never have allowed to happen. The troupe's costumes are purloined from a locked storage cabinet and they are forced to perform with makeshift clothing.
When Nicholas meets a couple of down on their luck young people who are making their living as con artists on the streets of London, helping them is almost too much for poor Nick. But he's got a good heart and an inquisitive mind, and as usual he'll stop at nothing before he gets everything under control. After all, the show must go on in Edward Marston's delightful fan-favorite, Edgar-nominated series.