Wow, another gem from Nevil Shute! He reminds me a bit of Willa Cather. Real life is presented in a calm, matter of fact way. This book involves a man who owns a boat yard, was a naval officer in WWI, is single, and who drinks too much. During one of his drunken drives, he may have had a bad accident, or perhaps not. Not too long thereafter, after befriending a dance-hall girl in Leeds (sixpence a dance) and hearing her chatter about her brother, hearing his cousin's spouse talk about small shipping routes from Europe to England, and seeing the effects of a burned out truck carrying a load of guns, he begins to see some tie-ins between these three seemingly unrelated things and his nightmares. So begins an investigation involving Scotland Yard, the homeland security folks (whatever they were called in England in the late 1920s). So also begins a romance with the dance-hall girl.