It is 20 years after the "New" Battle of Britain, and rationing is still in force. Because of rampant global warming, a massive tax has been imposed on carbon-based fuels. Now, with aviation fuel costing more than vintage champagne, commercial jets can no longer afford to ply the world's airways, and their place has been taken by giant, eco-friendly dirigibles. Our hero, Jack Lindsay, is a private investigator of the old schoolhard-nosed, hard-boiled, and hard-drinking. If he has a weakness, apart from a fondness for garibaldi biscuits, it is for a woman with a sob storyand one has just walked into his office, and into his life. Marian is purportedly looking for her husband, Michaelmas, though Jack suspects she's not telling him the whole story. By digging a little deeper, he finds himself becoming embroiled in a worldwide criminal conspiracy involving gun-smuggling, political assassination, and a chain of burger outlets. Soon Jack's got a lot more to worry about than just the local shortage of garibaldis.