Driven into hiding at the hotel by a tyrannous father and a rich but wizened suitor, Lady Jane Fremney attempts to end her life. The poor relations save the young lady and determine to improve her lot in life by bringing her out for the Season.
All the young bucks call on Jane, among them the handsome but racy Comte de Mornay, an exile from Napoleon's France who has broken many a heart and so far eluded matrimony. Jane is quite adamant he is unsuitable for her - but when his life is threatened by an assassin's pistol, it is up to her to help him escape from danger... and into l'amour!
The idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna is best known for the medieval church of St. Ethelred and its bells, which are the pride and glory of the whole community.
As the bell-ringers get ready for the visit of the dashing Bishop Peter Salver-Hinkley, the whole village is thrown into a frenzy. Meanwhile, Agatha convinces one of the bell-ringers, the charming lawyer Julian Brody, to hire her to investigate the mystery of the Bishop’s ex-fiancée: a local heiress, Jennifer Toynby, who went missing years ago and whose body was never found...
Meanwhile, the bodies in the village just keep on piling up: the corpse of Larry Jensen, a local policeman, is discovered in the crypt. Millicent Dupin, one of a pair of bell-ringing identical twins, is murdered near the church. And Terry Fletcher, a journalist and (briefly) Agatha’s lover, is found dead in her sitting room! Agatha widens her investigation and very soon her main suspect is the handsome Bishop himself. But could he really be behind this series of violent killings, or is it someone who wants to bring him—and his reputation—down?