Everyone in Kinvara is conscious that time is flying past, faster and faster - to such an extent that when JJ asks his mother what she would like as a birthday present she ask for more time. JJ dismisses this as mere wishful thinking, an impossibility, for who know where the time goes?
The Liddys have been musicians for generations and JJ is no exception but what he discovers is that a shadow from the past hangs over their family -did his great-grandfather murder the village priest? When he sets out to buy his mother time, he discovers the fate of a flute which will provide the key to both problems - it is the vital clue. He makes the transition to Tir na n'Og, the land of eternal youth, where the fairy people are also having a problem with time and it falls to his lot to locate the leak between the two parallel worlds. JJ finds where time goes!
Music proves to be the touchstone for communication between the fairy and the human domains and the book is saturated with the lure of Irish music for JJ's whole existence is built round the ceili and each chapter relates to a tune, printed out as a heading so that the reader can also become a performer. As for the New Policeman, Larry O'Dwyer, he is an enigmatic figure who has a significant bearing on the plot but whose identity is kept a superbly guarded secret to the very last surprising moment.