With his partner married, brilliant engineer James Wainwright is at a loose end. When Scotland Yard asks for help with a hostage situation at a mental hospital, he’s only too eager to lend a hand – particularly after he meets the winsome Doctor Loni Teague.
His partner socialite Bartleby, however, has a personal connection – Bedford is the institution into which he had his embarrassment of a father committed a decade ago, and now the old man has asked for him personally. The director, Paddock, has been murdered, and Bartleby the elder won’t relinquish the asylum until the true killer has been found.
The Home Office has allocated the detectives a scant few hours before the Metropolitan Police mount an assault on the asylum – if the detectives fail to get the answers they need from the madmen holding it, many innocent lives will be lost, and a murderer may go free.