Mak Vanderwall - beautiful, street-wise daughter of a cop, graduate in forensic psychology, and now PI - is hired by a widowed mother to track down her missing nineteen-year-old son. Has he come to harm? Or has he run off with a bizarre troupe of shady French cabaret artistes sweeping through Australia? Has the dark beauty of the burlesque, the magic, the mind-bending contortion, beguiled him? Or has he been seduced by the mysterious and amoral older woman who has a terrifying starring role in the troupe's modern performances of the Grand Guignol 'Theatre of Fear', famous in Paris in the early 1900s? And what of the rumours of violence and tragedy that have plagued the troupe for the past decade? Is their horrifying past fact or fiction? Meanwhile, Mak is increasingly obsessed with the powerful and ruthless Cavanagh family. And it seems their security advisor Mr White, and his hitman, Luther Hand, may not have forgotten about Mak either ...