Retired widower Professor Andrew Basnett goes to stay for a few winter months in the cottage of nephew Peter, who's temporarily living in Paris. And Andrew becomes interested in the local gossip involving his cottage-neighbor Pauline Hewison--still suspected of murdering her rich husband six years back, even though her alibi remains unbroken. Among those most passionately sure of Pauline's guilt: her illegitimate daughter Ruth; a strangely virulent village couple; and Pauline's brother-in-law Henry, owner of an unsteady private school--who turns up, shot and dying, just inside the front door of Andrew's cottage. Furthermore, Pauline herself then arrives on Andrew's doorstep amidst a snowstorm and power failure. So the professor must use his instinct and intuition to solve both killings--before a morose aftermath and a welcome return to his London flat. Leisurely, longwinded, but soothing and professional enough--for undemanding lovers of the English-village subgenre.