Charlie Leathers was hardly the most popular man in the charming English village of Ferne Basset, but few people seemed to hate him enough to murder him. Still, that was his fate one night, and it brings Inspector Barnaby to the scene to investigate. What Barnaby doesn't know is that before his death. Charlie witnessed what might have been the suicide -- or murder -- of a young woman whose troubles with the law had landed her in the generous home of a local retired minister and his none-too-pleased wife. Now a man is dead, a girl is missing, and a town is in chaos as long-kept secrets begin to unravel with deadly repercussions.