When a bellhop at a New York hotel is found murdered in a young teacher’s tiny office at a backwoods Connecticut college, she can’t offer the police any connection between her and the dead man. A week later, she finds a canvas bag in the staff room fridge. Inside it are two scraps of brittle paper and a gold bar stamped with an eagle and swastika cross—Hitler’s logo. If the crest is real, then the ownership of the gold bar is a crime. She decides to see a friend at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, who can help determine whether the bar is authentic. Much to her surprise he focuses on the scraps of paper and then warns her that secrets tattooed into patches of human skin, far more than the gold bar, are deadly—considering who had opted to hide his secrets in such manner. Forty-eight hours later, her friend is dead and the only man she can turn to for help is the one who betrayed her ten years ago.