Gerald Hadleigh, secretary of the Midsomer Worthy's Writer's circle had never wanted to invite best selling novelist Max Jennings to one of their meetings. When Gerald is found dead the next morning from a brutal battering, the other members of the circle wish they had heeded his reluctance. Inspector Barnaby soon discovers that Gerald is a man of myster, a man with a past. When another body is found, Barnaby has a double hug on his hands.
At the Corn Exchange, preperations are in full swing for the forthcoming production of Amadeus, unaware that nearby the body of a local resident, Agnes Grey, is about to be found floating in the river. Barnaby sets out to discover who has preperated the crime, however, before he can conclude his investigations there is trouble at the theatre.
A project to redevelope the Old Mill is struggling financially and many of the inhabitants of Morton Fendle believe that they have been conned out of a considerable sum of money. When the wife of the wealthy mill owner goes missing Barnaby suspects that she has been kidnapped and sets out to unravel the mystery.
There is a death at The Lodge of the Golden Windhorse. At the commune William Carter is found at the bottom of the stairs with a broken neck. The residents gather round the body and Barnaby and Troy are called in to find out if this was a simple accident or if there are more sinister goings on. A few days later Barnaby and Troy are called back to The Lodge, only this time there is no doubt.