Part time reporter Geoffrey Marston gives the inside story of the summer's battle between two Northumberland towns to claim Nicolas Grimsby as an illustrious son. Riddleford has profited through the years as being the birthplace of the centuries' dead poet when an article by the scholarly Nightly proposes the neighboring Grimwick for the honor and Marston and allied Grimsby adherents set about to destroy the conspiracy. Placards, group and solitary manifestations must be countered but it is not until the American Krankel who has financed the foundation for Grimsby studies has been imported that decisive action occurs. For Krankel locates the perpetrator of the plot and challenges him to a duel which is the means of returning Grimsby to Riddleford forever. Many facets of English character, sharp views of the people involved and an animated account of the local unpleasantnesses background the resuscitation of Grimsby, too long taken for granted, and combine into a mild amusement.