On a summer evening outside the stage door of an East London music hall three lives are about to cross.
Comedienne Dot Allbones encounters a face she hasn’t seen in more than twenty years: Kate, once envied for her good looks, is begging for the price of a doss-house bed for the night.
Waiting for Dot in a hansom is fellow artiste and male soprano, Valentine St John. Valentine is soon to add a new follower to his claque of ardent fans: the mysteriously wealthy Dr Townsend. What is Townsend’s business in London? Where does his money come from? Is he just a man-about-town, or could he be in the pay of American Fenians?
Sometimes you don’t see what’s coming because you’re looking so intently in the wrong direction.
It is 1888 and Saucy Jack is sharpening his knife.