Cordelia Russell has been living on the French Riviera for 25 years, passing herself off as an English socialite. But her luck, and the kindness of strangers, have run out. The arrival of a visitor from her distant past shocks Cordelia. She reacts violently to the intrusion and flees her flat to spend a drunken night at a glittering party. As dawn breaks she stumbles home through the back streets. Even before she opens her door she can hear the flies buzzing. She did not expect the corpse inside to start decomposing quite so quickly.