Franz Schmidt arrives in Berlin in January 1939 to take up the position of Chief Auditor at the Reichsbank, the financial heart of the Third Reich. He has been positioned there by the enigmatic von Streck, a high-ranking member of the Nazi party but one who has a different agenda to that of the Fuehrer. Schmidt realises he must tread very carefully to avoid the zealous and passionate Fraulein Brandt, who is determined to destroy anyone unfaithful to the Party.
This is the story of the crisis of conscience experienced by the chief auditor in a German banking house when it accepts the Nazi party as a client. He tries to save a Jewish secretary, fails, and then devises a scam to ruin the Nazi official who sent her to her death. His own marriage, and his moral universe, are torn apart in the process.