Jack Ford loses his Midas touch and becomes a victim of the Wall Street crash which forces him to leave New York with gangsters threatening his life. He returns, illegally, to Liverpool as a stowaway on a cargo boat, which costs him every penny he has. He then sets about finding old friends and rebuilding his life. An old schoolfriend asks Jack to do a favour for Matt's favourite nephew Billy. Billy is talented, clever and attending Cambridge University. He is in a 'bit of trouble' so Jack visits Cambridge and finds out what the 'trouble' is. Jack's girlfriend Imogen Lorrimer has left him. It is the time of the hunger marches but Jack's life is very glamorous and at a Labour fundraising party he bumps into loves old and new. Sarah Headley pays a surprise visit to Jack's London flat. In London Jack is dubbed the 'self-made man' by the upper class people in the circles he now moves in. He plans to make a fortune with an emerald necklace - until he realises it involves double-crossing the old friend who saved his life.