When a boatman is murdered on a remote island off Van Dieman's Land, the authorities want to blame a famous, and very inconvenient, political prisoner. But the victim's history of blackmail prompts Monsarrat to look further afield - and not everyone is happy . . .
In this, the third in the Monsarrat series, Hugh Llewelyn Monsarrat and his trusty housekeeper, Mrs Mulrooney, are sent to remote Maria Island to solve the murder of Bart Harefield, the detested cutter skipper responsible for bringing supplies and correspondence to the island. Bart knows that knowledge is currency and he's not shy about reading the letters he brings across ...
When Harefield is murdered with an axe, blame is laid at the feet of Thomas Power, the charismatic Irish revolutionary held in detention - with a lot of privileges - on Maria Island. Monsarrat and Mrs Mulrooney are told to solve the murder. They soon realise their real job is to tie Power neatly to the crime, so he can be hanged without inciting rebellion.
But were there others who also had reason to want to shut Harefield up?