Elizabeth Mann, haunted by the shadow of her father (a renowned infertility specialist) and her own self-destructive habits, thinks that leaving New York will solve her problems. In London, on assignment for a travel-writing job, she comes face to face with the skeleton of the famous eighteenth century criminal Jonathan Wild. Her burgeoning obsession with the legendary thief is interrupted by a chance encounter with Gideon Streetcar, one of her father's former students, infertility specialist, and soon-to-be lover. But Elizabeth's fixation is revitalised when she comes across the memoirs of Jonathan Wild's second wife, Mary Wild. The manuscript, damaged almost to illegibility by water, is slowly pried apart by a museum conservator whom Elizabeth befriends. Mary's journals are doled out sparingly throughout the novel, leaving both the reader and Elizabeth breathless for what happens next. Influenced by conversations with Gideon about cloning possibilities, infertility and pregnancy and her growing obsession with Wild, she enlists Gideon's help to allow her to give birth to the clone of Wild.
She lies to the curator of the museum where his skeleton is displayed and obtains a shaving of his bone. Gideon implants three eggs in Elizabeth's uterus, one with the DNA of Wild and two with his own DNA. She soon shows signs of pregnancy. Flirting with different genres, deadpan detective novel and twisted historical romance, Heredity is an addictive novel of suspense and absorbing intellectual debate that reveals the intense links between the past, present and future.