A police raid on an Edinburgh brothel captures (seemingly by accident) popular young local MP Gregor Jack. When his fiery wife Elizabeth disappears, and two bodies are found, suspicion falls on a famous local actor and haulier, Rab Kinnoul. Detective Inspector John Rebus is sympathetic to the MP's problems, and interviews a member of Jacks' social circle, Andrew MacMillan, who is locked up in a psychiatric hospital after murdering his own wife many years before. It becomes increasingly evident that somebody has 'set up' Jack, with the intention of stripping him of his good name, political standing and maybe even his life.
The title refers to the popular card game "Strip Jack Naked".