Back to Balaclava Junction and its sometime sleuth, Professor Peter Shandy of the local agricultural college (The Corpse in Oosak's Pond, etc.), for more far-fetched criminal activity amongst the strange-sounding names and homey kitchens. Someone is hard at work stealing the now very valuable 19th-century weather vanes made by Praxiteles Lumpkin, then setting fires to cover up the thefts. The latest theft and fire are in the Lumpkinton soap factory, in which old Caspar Flum died and Brinkley Swope suffered serious burns trying to rescue him. By some coincidence, it just so happens then that Peter's pretty librarian wife, Helen, has been doing a study of Lumpkin's weather vanes for the Smithsonian and, soon after the soapwork's vane is found missing, sets off with neighbor Iduna Stott to photograph another of Lumpkin's works on a barn at Sasquamahoc Forestry school in Maine, headed by Peter's long-time friend Guthrie Fingal. They're to stay with Helen's friend Catriona McBogel, who has planned for her guests a whale-watching trip on Eustace Tilkey's old lobster boat. Meanwhile, Peter, along with Brinkley Swope's reporter-brother Cronkite, has uncovered a veritable arsenal at a survivalist area called Woeful Ridge. They're rescued from some resident savages by a different kind of survivor--Miss Winifred Binks, living underground in a well-equipped series of caves. The ill-fated whale-watching trip; Peter's discoveries; Guthrie Fingal's wife's diary and more--much, much more--eventually connect and lead to a detestable but barely credible mastermind. Incident-packed and moving at a furious pace, this one's fun even for readers with a low tolerance-level for the author's fey way--a bonanza for her fans.