Riceyman Steps is a second-hand bookshop in the Clerkenwell area of London run by the miserly Henry Earlforward. Violet Arb, a widow who also has a shop nearby, comes to buy a cookbook from him, but then decides not to as she thinks the prices he is asking are too high. In spite of this they fall in love and marry. But he is irritated at the amount of money she plans to spend on the wedding, and once they are husband and wife he fears she will go through his savings too fast. He becomes more obsessed with saving money, eating very little and refusing to light the stove.
When he becomes ill, the doctor orders him to go to the hospital. Though he thinks he will lose his independence by doing so he is eventually persuaded, but as he is about to be admitted, they find that Violet is much more ill than he is. Their maid Elsie Sprickett has to steal money from him in order to send for news of Violet, fears that he will never get better unless he changes his way of life.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste