Victor Radcliffe, prominent Melbourne businessman, on the committee of the Carlton Football Club, lies murdered in a deserted warehouse - the bayonet wound suggests a trained killer, but Police Inspector James Maclaine, and his smart-talking sidekick Harry Devlin, are having trouble tracking down the killer. Why do the members of Radcliffe's household seem strangely offhand about his murder? Was there a woman on the scene of the crime? As for the woman in Maclaine's life, his marriage is on the skids and he can't keep his nightmares away. The Praetorian Guard, a shadowy group of WW1 army veterans, keep showing up, as does the charming stepdaughter of the deceased.