World War I nurse Bess Crawford, home on leave, is asked to accompany a wounded soldier to Buckingham Palace, where he's to be decorated by the king. The next morning, when Bess goes to collect him, his room is empty and he's nowhere to be found. Both the army and the nursing service blame Bess for losing a patient, a hero at that, and she's to face an inquiry into her negligence. But how could a man confined to a wheelchair leave a hotel on his own and vanish into the night? Then comes word from the Shropshire police that Wilkins, the missing hero, has been sighted there, and an eyewitness claims the soldier has just killed a man. If Bess is to save her own reputation, she must find Wilkins and get to the bottom of what he did or didn't do. The problem is, even the Shropshire police have no idea where he is. And the moral implications of what has happened - that a patient in her charge has done murder - become more important to her than her own future as a nursing sister.