The news that Radio Broadwich is to make a documentary on Twytching for broadcast in America spreads through the small village like wildfire.
Mrs Deborah Withens, Twytching's resident doyenne and arbiter of good taste, takes it upon herself to control the presentation of her 'county town' and assumes responsibility for picking those that will take part, provoking fierce rivalry amongst the villagers. One resident who is reticent to participate in the fuss is Inspector George Parrish . . . until the murder of the first villager chosen, and a rash of poison pen letters uncovering secrets Twytching's leading citizens had fervently hoped were buried, force him to get involved. In this early classic, Robert Barnard skilfully demonstrates that no one is more cunning in preparing the reader to expect the totally unexpected and his incisive character portrayals in this early gem impart a dimension rarely found in English detective fiction.