One night, in a private boarding house in Scarborough, a railwayman vanishes, leaving his belongings behind. A reluctant Jim Stringer is sent to investigate. It is March 1914, and Jim Stringer, railway detective, is uneasy about his next assignment. It's not so much the prospect Scarborough in the gloomy off-season that bothers him, or even the fact that the last railwayman to stay in the house has disappeared without trace. It's more that his governer, Chief Inspector Saul Weatherhill, seems to be deliberately holding back details of the case - and that he's been sent to Scarborough with a trigger-happy assistant. The lodging house is called Paradise, but, as Jim discovers, it's hardly that in reality. It is, however, home to the seductive and beautiful Amanda Rickerby, a woman evidently capable of derailing Jim's marriage and a good deal more besides. As a storm brews in Scarborough, it becomes increasingly unlikely that Jim will ever ride the train back to York.