After a dealer apparently disappears over the side of a cross-channel ferry, Lovejoy acquires two china geese.
Charlie Gimbert, in pursuit of local ambitions, decides to impress the community and asks Charlotte to act as hostess at a Dog Show and Wildlife Auction at Felsham Hall. Lovejoy organises the auction, including his geese - and Charlotte invites him home for a dinner for two.
A friend of Charlotte's who runs a nursing home has asked her to sell some things, and Charlotte wants Lovejoy's help with valuations. One patient, Virginia, believes she has a very rare bureau. Then somebody tries to kill Lovejoy. When Charlotte recognizes his resemblance to a dead poet, they begin to suspect who might be behind the attempts on his life. Tinker and Beth are sent off to London in search of the answers.