White’s Art Fund is after a painting by Whistler. A contentious painter from an Anglo-American family of parsons and soldiers, the pugnacious son of a pioneer railway builder whose moody views of the Thames and stylish portraits did not fend off his famous court case and bankruptcy. So when Tim Simpson of White’s Art Fund gets a lead on a mysterious Whistler painting for sale he might expect violence, murder, trade competition, American interest from Chicago, and lethal attacks in both Chelsea and Hastings. Tim’s actions are the despair of girl friend Sue, his ex-Rugby playing pal, Chief Inspector Nobby Roberts, and his boss Jeremy White. All this is happening at a time when great change threatens White’s Bank. The past and the present tangle finance, art and steam locomotion in historical challenges leading Tim to a violent conclusion.