Martin Long's career has reflected his two main interests - writing and music. He studied at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music and the University of Sydney before becoming a journalist - a music and film critic, feature writer, features editor and leader writer. He has pursued musicological studies as a hobby and has published work on Elizabethan and Jacobean music.
Reissmann and his wife run a struggling musical academy in Sydney. They have too few pupils and too many financial problems. And nobody seems to have a reason for putting cyanide in Reissman's beer. But Wellington Cotter discovers that several people have secrets: Reissmann's daughter Helena, the enigmatic musician Maurice Vail, young and helpful cellist Harry Dalgliesh. Cotter than begins to unravel a strange tale of thwarted ambition and dynastic revenge.