An English vicar is both a murderer and a detective.
The Reverend Francis Oughterard led a life of rectitude until he strangled a parishioner. He escaped detection thanks to his dog Bouncer and his cat Maurice, who managed to cover up the crime. Since then his attempts to hew to the straight and narrow have been undermined by his involvement in any number of other illegal activities (Bones In High Places, 2010, etc.). This time out, a blackmailer is threatening his bishop. Years earlier this worthy cleric had a homosexual affair with Oughterard’s sleazy pal Nicholas Ingaza, who turned up trumps for him by providing him with an alibi for murder. Now he too is getting blackmail notes. Soon enough he presses the unfortunate Oughterard into service as a sleuth. When Freddie Felter, one of their favorite suspects, is shot dead outside the bishop’s house, Oughterard and Ingaza are tasked with disposing of the body. An unluckily placed police roadblock forces them to dump it in a neighbor’s garden, all too close to Oughterard’s home. Luckily, Bouncer, who had unwillingly shared the back seat with the corpse, manages to abscond with a notebook full of interesting tidbits that will help Oughterard identify the blackmailer.
The muddled, murderous vicar takes a backseat to his clever pets and a startling ending.