Rebecca Tope lives on a smallholding in Herefordshire, where she plants trees and watches birds, but manages to travel the world and enjoy civilisation from time to time as well. Her spaniel Beulah died recently, but her memory persists in the canine character of Hepzibah. Beulah’s successor is Bunty, a shaggy mixed-breed terrier.
But in taking an order for a retirement party in Staveley, she is pulled into her most challenging investigation yet. When a daughter starts accusing her own mother of murder, Simmy, Ben and Bonnie find themselves taking different sides of the investigation. With her relationships under strain, Simmy has to learn to leave her own concerns behind to discover just who the killer is.
To make matters worse, her friend, Ben - responsible for alerting her to the discovered body - is now missing and thought to be kidnapped. Caught up in both a murder and kidnapping investigation, Simmy begins chasing clues left by her missing friend.
With many suspicious characters bustling in and out of the hotel, while simultaneously trying to cope with her father’s encroaching dementia, solving the puzzle seems a gruelling challenge, but Simmy is compelled to uncover the truth . . .
Then a violent murder is discovered close to home and Simmy must face the fact that the family she was once so close to as a child holds some dark and sinister secrets. Simmy’s efforts to keep out of the investigation are frustrated when people from the past resurface, rumours of infidelity in the Henderson household whirl around, and her friends Ben and Bonnie become involved in solving the crime. The Lake District’s tranquillity will be uncertain until the mystery is completely resolved.
Unconvinced that the swift conclusion made about the death by the police is the right one, Thea is compelled to follow her nature and investigate herself. But what repercussions might there be for her, Drew and those with whom they share this corner of the Cotswolds?