Christmas is coming and DI Staffe is trying to make a go of it with his on-off girlfriend, Sylvie, when a murdered woman is discovered in a swanky City hotel room.
Staffe becomes obsessed with Elena Danya, the dead, blonde and beguiling, high-end prostitute. When another, altogether more down-at-heel working girl, is killed and their mutual, aristocratic friend and bad-girl, Arrabella, goes missing, Staffe is drawn into the whole gamut of London's alien niches: brothels and gentleman's clubs; banks and tenement estates.
The evidence begins to point to a coy sociopath and voyeuristic predator, Graham Blears, but Staffe is not convinced and is increasingly drawn away from the city and towards the roots of a tangled menage of City banker, Russian oligarch, and Turkish playboy, forcing himself down into the higher echelons of the British establishment, whose barricades begin to stonewall the investigation.
When his Chief, Pennington, cuts him loose, Staffe becomes the hunted instead of the hunter, with grave consequences for the women who are close to him.