The year is 1966, and the World Cup has come to England. With the USSR due to play at Roker Park, and the fear of the 'Reds Under the Bed' exemplified by the upcoming Polaris submarine landing at the nearby Jarrow docks, tensions are running high. Gently and Bacchus investigate the murder of a well-known left-wing academic, found dead in the docks after a CND rally.
This takes them onto the Durham University campus - an ancient temple of learning, struggling to come to terms with the novel influx of students from the working class and brash, radical, academics. Sexual and social rebellion is everywhere, and to the young and optimistic these forces seem inevitable and unstoppable.