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London, 1933. Two months after the body of an Indian woman named Usha Pramal is found in the brackish water of a south-London canal, her brother, newly arrived in England, turns to Maisie Dobbs to find the truth about her death. Not only has Scotland Yard made no arrests, evidence indicates that they failed to conduct a full and thorough investigation. Before her death, Usha was staying at the Ayah's Hostel, alongside Indian women whose British employers turned them out into the street, penniless and far from their homeland, when their services were no longer needed. As Maisie soon learns, Usha was different from the hostel's other lodgers. But with this discovery comes new danger—another Indian woman who had information about Usha is found murdered before she can talk to Maisie. As Maisie is pulled deeper into a vibrant culture she finds fascinating, her investigation becomes clouded by the "unfinished business" of a previous case, and by a growing desire to see more of the world—to follow in the footsteps of her former mentor, Maurice Blanche. And there is her lover, James Compton, who gives her an ultimatum she cannot ignore.