The story opens in 1978 in a divided Germany, with an unusual defection and moves to the present where architect Peter Crookham's world is about to be turned upside down.
"How well do you know your wife, Mr Crookham?" asks Chief Inspector Yeats following the arrest of Marina Crookham for murder.
Peter Crookham responds that he knows everything about her. Later, as he reflects on the question he begins to wonder if indeed he knows as much as he thinks he does. Marina is from East Berlin and has always said that she was estranged from her family so Peter has never met them. Peter, senior partner in his architectural practice, had been bowled over when the lovely Marina came to work for them. With her easy manner, she charmed difficult clients and out of a chance discussion while buying clothes, propelled the practice into the heady world of premiership footballers and their "money no object" architectural requirements and in doing so turned both Peter's professional and private life around. Although Peter takes some convincing that she has lied to him, he comes to believe that the only way to help his wife is to find out the truth about her past and in spite of many warnings, he flies to Berlin. Here he survives being chased, shot at and a trip around a Stasi prison. Eventually his reluctance to listen to advice to return home has serious consequences.
It is a tale of secrets, spies and lies which keeps the reader on their toes; that Peter is somewhat of a bumbler at times does not detract and it keeps its pace until the end.