Chief Superintendent Wycliffe comes across a gun on the beach near his home one day--and it turns out to be the long-ago-stolen gun that was used to kill Joseph Clement, a gentle antiques dealer in the nearby town of St. Juliot. Furthermore, Joseph's shady brother David, a recent partner in the business, seems to have disappeared, along with his boat--the Manna. Is David the prime suspect, then? So it seems. But when Wycliffe's detection leads to the recovery of the sunken Manna, with David's body on board, focus shifts to Joseph's two chums--retired Major Gavin Parkyn (original owner of the murder weapon) and local woodworker Bunny Lane. Leisurely pace, careful plotting: competent, slightly soporific work for Wycliffe (who frets throughout about whether to accept a promotion), a case that will satisfy his fans but win no new ones.