Hastings is a guest at the Inglethorp country manor when Emily Inglethorp is murdered. With the whole household under suspicion, Hastings sends for his old friend Hercule Poirot.
Morse investigates the reported theft of erotic paintings belonging to Sir Julius Hanbury, a local baronet who is one of those standing for election as the new Master of Courtney College, Oxford. As well as the pictures, Sir Julius himself has also disappeared. Morse finds Sir Julius's dead body, and at first it looks like murder, but the new police pathologist, Dr Grayling Russell, believes he killed himself. Then there is another death which is undoubtedly a murder - but how is it connected with the late Sir Julius Hanbury?