Chief Detective Barnaby and his young, sometimes rash, sidekick Gavin Troy are called to a small English village with the charming name of Ferne Bassett to unravel a murder and mysterious disappearance. A troubled youth from a high class halfway house has gone missing. The lady of the house guiltily thinks she might be arrested for her drowning and fears blackmail. But while demands for payoff continue to come in, the potential blackmailer is found dead by the river, his face nearly chewed away by animals. The list of suspects is long at first but narrows quickly under Barnaby's wide-ranging inventigation.
Our detective must choose among several possible alternative explanations for what happened, all the while dealing with a daffy busybody, a gay writer and his wife, a former clergyman, a handsome but deranged chauffer, and his own staff.
This report prepared by Joe Miller