"Peace has come to England and the blackout is over, but the gloom has yet to lift from London. One night, leaving a gambling club where he has run up a considerable tab, the young painter Francis Bacon, accompanied by his lover, sees a man gunned down in the street. They do what they can to stanch the flow of blood, but the Frenchman dies in the hospital. Soon afterward, Bacon receives a strange offer from the club owner: He will erase Bacon's debts if the painter delivers a package to the dead man's widow, Madame Renard, on the Riviera. What gambler could resist a trip to Monte Carlo? After handing over the parcel, Bacon learns that Madame Renard is dead -- and the striking young woman who accepted the delivery is an imposter. The Riviera may be lovely, but in 1945, its sun-drenched beaches can be just as dark as the back alleys of London"--Page 4 of cover.