When Simon Hannaford is left temporarily in charge of his aunt's 20-bedroom Gothic pile he knows he must be able to make a profit from it somehow. Murder, he decides, is the only way to do it. For Madingley Grange is the perfect venue for a 1930s mystery weekend and, before long, he and his long-suffering sister have set the stage for money-spinning mayhem.
From the conservatory to the contents of the claret cellar the clues are sprinkled like pot pourri, and the hired retainers Gaunt and Bennet provide the finishing touch. But when the guests arrive it is obvious that the business of murder is bound to run off course. For neither Derek, who refuses to relinquish his deerstalker, nor Mrs Gibbs, a card-sharping grandmother, nor Gillette, the 30s fiend complete with ukelele, nor any of the other ill-assorted bunch is happy to play the victim. And when a body does appear, it hardly takes a Hercule Poirot to guess it is not a volunteer. The game of detection must begin in earnest.