The 'Alda insignia' is to be sold at auction, but John Mannering (The Baron) refuses to buy it for a mysterious Australian. He is then, however, threatened by the seller's lawyers. Travelling to Australia in order to try and uncover the truth behind these strange occurences, Mannering meets with an extremely hostile reception. There are, however, questions to be answered and a deepening mystery solved, particularly when he comes across a manor house almost identical to one in England, and a family clearly divided between the two countries. At the centre is a huge debt, valuable jewels and to top it all the affair of the Picasso painting . . .