Off the water that separates England from France, near the seaside town of Deal, it is a well-known fact that "owling," a local term for the illegal cargo trade, thrives on the moonlit beaches. At the behest of a very concerned Lord Chief Justice, Sir John and Jeremy travel to Deal to investigate the town magistrates, accused of complicity in the smuggling. Oddly, the young man is a trusted protege of the Lord Chief Justice himself. Sir John and Jeremy couldn't have arrived at a better time - just as the smugglers turn murderous." The first body, throat slit from ear to ear, turns up where it shouldn't, on the estate of Sir Simon Grenville, an esteemed member of the local gentry. After the Deal magistrate proves that the murder is not what it appears to be, one dead body seems to lead immediately to another, and Sir John and Jeremy realize they face some very powerful enemies. What they find in Deal is most alarming: the booty on Smuggler's Beach is not the only thing to have fallen into the wrong hands. So, it seems, has the law.