In the beautiful village of Midsomer Market someone is killing the members of a ladies' reading circle. Barnaby finds the little society was really a cover for something quite different - the ladies had been operating a secret investment consortium, and there had been fierce disagreements between them about the cashing in of profits. How exactly does Harry Painter, a disgraced currency trader now working in the village as a swimming pool cleaner, fit into the picture, and what exactly is the motive for the murders?
Susan Bartlett, who was depressed about her infertility, is found dead in a wood - with the appearance that she killed herself. But then Barnaby finds that Susan's emailed suicide note was sent after she was dead. The ensuing hug investigation uncovers old feuds, infidelity and witchcraft.
In the village of Midsomer Wellow, someone is killing off the bellringers of the parish church, in the week before a big bell-ringing competition. One young woman on the team is even shot dead in the churchyard on her wedding day.Before he can crack the case, Barnaby has to understand the significance of an old killing in the same village in the year 1840, when the Midsomer Wellow Vicar of the day, the Reverend Jonathan Ebbrell, was cuddled and thrown down a well by the bellringers of his church. So where are the Ebbrells now?
The village of Midsomer Parva is dominated by the imposing Devington School - as a seat of learning, Devington may be undistinguished in the great world, but it is socially well-connected and it has economic clout. When the College's Pudding Club sets off a murderous chain of events, ranks begin to close against Barnaby and Troy, and they need inside information to catch a hugger who is obsessed by loyalty to the school.