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Eustace Hendel, head of the younger branch of a rich and titled family, suddenly realises that, as the result of a holiday accident, the question of the succession to the entailed estates holds more than just academic interest for him.

Eustace is in financial difficulties, and in love; all his problems would be solved were he himself heir presumptive to old Lord Barradys. Other members of the elder branch are still living – but accidents do happen.

Yet Eustace is not the only family member with an interest in the inheritance . . .