It is a sweltering August in Aberystwyth: the bandstand melts, the Pier droops, and Sospan the ice-cream seller experiments with some dangerously avant-garde new flavours. A man wearing a Soviet museum curator's uniform walks into Louie Knight's office and spins a wild and impossible tale of love, death, madness and betrayal. Sure, Louie had heard about Hughesovka, the legendary replica of Aberystwyth built in the Ukraine by some crazy nineteenth-century Czar. But he hadn't believed that it really existed until he met Uncle Vanya. Now the old man's story catapults him into the neon-drenched wilderness of Aberystwyth Prom in search of a girl who mysteriously disappeared thirty years ago. His life imperilled by snuff philatelists and a renegade spinning wheel salesman, Louie finds his fate depending on two most unlikely talismans - a ticket to Hughesovka and a Russian cosmonaut's sock.