Love, secrets and sudden death - keynotes in the short life of composer Roland Fredricks, In 1992 Jonathan Burroughs is researching a biography for the centenary of Fredricks' birth. Why the unexpected brilliance of his late work? What explains his mysterious death in 1941? Was he a genius, cut off in his prime, or a dissolute libertine? Rumour and gossip are rife but evidence is elusive. Can Jonathan persuade the Fredricks women to talk? His daughter Gudrun, loathes him. His former-mistress, singer Paula Pignatilli, is now a recluse in her impregnable Italian palazzo. But Anna Cummins who, as a student, had a bitter-sweet affair with Fredricks, is writing her memoirs. Jonathan contrives to meet her, and through her, her granddaughter Ros. Jonathan and Ros embark on a love affair that echoes Roland and Anna's 50 years earlier. The story plays out to a soundtrack of great music: Messiah, Marriage of Figaro, Vivaldi's Four Seasons ... and the truth behind the Fredricks legend is solved only in the final bars.