When Cliff Janeway investigates the provenance of a signed first edition of a memoir by nineteenth-century explorer Sir Richard Burton, he becomes embroiled in a mystery involving a lost library of rare Burton material.
The story begins when an old woman, Josephine Gallant, learns that Janeway has recently bought at auction a signed first edition by the legendary nineteenth century explorer Richard Francis Burton. The book is a true classic, telling of Burton's journey. Josephine says the book is rightfully hers. Shebelieves that her grandfather, who was living in Baltimore more than eighty years ago, had a fabulous collection of Burton material, including a handwritten journal allegedly detailing Burton's undercover trip deep into the troubled American South in 1860. With little time left in her own life, Josephine begs for Janeway's promise: he must find her grandfather's collection.