On arrival as a medical orderly at Suez in 1941, Faulkes is surprised and alarmed to be greeted by a ghost from his family's past. Grinning and dropping enigmatic hints, there is Uncle Raymond, slyly referring to Faulkes' Aunt. This turns out to be Nadia, the beautiful Copt installed in Cairo, who refuses to answer Raymond's letters, however pleading. Faulkes is enlisted to track her down, but it is an operation so bizarre and bungled, that it will leave all their lives marked. In a deft, stylish and intelligent comedy, Newby evokes all the mystery, farce and splendor of the wartime Egypt that he knew so well.