Priestly duties fall by the wayside when Max Tudor must investigate what appears to be a murder in an upper-crust family living in a local castle.
Traveling back to his home in Nether Monkslip, Anglican priest Max Tudor finds himself stuck in a train compartment with Lady Baynard of Chedrow Castle and having rather unpriestly thoughts of annoyance and impatience. Unfortunately, Max is soon summoned to Chedrow Castle by DCI Cotton, of the Monkslip-super-Mare police, who eagerly seeks Max’s MI5 experience to investigate at the castle when Lady Baynard’s brother and titleholder, Lord Footrustle, is murdered. It being the holidays, the castle is brimming with familial suspects whose loss will doubtless also be their pecuniary gain. Soon after his arrival, Lady Baynard’s body is found. Now, the pressure is on Max to determine who most profited from the deaths of the brother and sister. Some relatives, including Lord Footrustle’s daughter, Jocasta, and his former wife, Gwynyth, seem too out of touch with reality to be complicit in the deaths. By contrast, adopted granddaughter Lamorna’s quiet snooping and religious moralizing send her to the top of Max’s suspect list. DCI Cotton implores Max to find the murderer lest any other lives be lost. Max, however, is distracted by thoughts of his dear friend Awena Owen, whose assistance he can’t help but desire, though he’s becoming aware that his thoughts about her amount to more than just thoughts.
The handsome priest-turned-detective hero who debuted in Wicked Autumn (2011) nearly meets his match in a suspect list that rivals the telephone directory.