When the Daily Mirror called The Chalon Heads "one of the best-crafted, best-plotted, and most convincing British thrillers for decades," you knew it had to be good. David Brock and Kathy Kolla are summoned to Cabot's, a venerable dealer in rare stamps on the Strand, and at first they expect a simple case of theft and a pleasant digression from the usual sort of murderous wrongdoing they encounter in the Serious Crime Branch of Scotland Yard. But the case they confront is twistier and far more unsettling than they could have imagined. An unsavory figure from Brock's past, slippery East-Ender Sammy Starling, aka Sammy China, is in deep trouble and asking for Brock's help. It seems Sammy's young wife has been kidnapped; but the strange part is that the ransom notes are decorated with rare and valuable Chalon Head stamps of the young Queen Victoria to whom Sammy's wife bears an uncanny resemblance. Sammy is convinced a corrupt cop he once helped put in jail is behind the kidnapping. But Sammy has made a living from fraud and deceit: why should Brock and Kolla trust anything he says?