This is the first Phryne Fisher Mystery novel which is set in Sydney. A theft has taken place in the Arts Department at the University of Sydney and the student who has been accused will face a trial where he will be expelled. Two friends contact Miss Fisher to help them prove that their friend is innocent, but they tell her about the case once she is in Sydney. Phryne goes to the city with Dot, who will find that her sister has disappeared leaving her two young daughters and her husband behind. Dot knows her sister would never abandon her daughters and tells Phryne, who is decided to find her. Both Phryne and Dot will have to adapt to the different rhythm of the city of Sydney while the Harbour Bridge is being built and to its different underworlds, including academia.