Crime writer and reluctant sleuth Ethelred Tressider is handed his strangest case yet. Crime reviewer Henry Holiday is an unlikely murderer who's convinced he's killed somebody but doesn't know who or when. Worryingly, Crispin Vynall, another crime writer who Henry had been drinking with, has vanished.
After agreeing to help, Ethelred received a death threat. His impervious agent Elsie Thirkettle encourages Ethelred to continue since it is well worth risking death in exchange for a few good reviews. The investigation takes him to a small downland village in Chichester and Crispin's attractive wife, Emma.
Did Emma justifiably murder her philandering husband? Ethelred must circumvent the most crooked red herring of them all but can he do it without compromising himself?