All men should have a hobby: it keeps them out from under their wives' feet. Dennis Brinkley's hobby, though, was killing machines. No wonder the village was uneasy...Mallory Lawson believes that inheriting his aunt's beautiful house in Forbes Abbot may have saved his sanity. It enables him to take early retirement from his appalling teaching job in London, and his wife Kate to realise her dream of starting her own company. Life will be so much simpler in the country, won't it? But Forbes Abbot is not quite the close-knit community it seems, and little differences and squabbles can become violent - even murderous. Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby has encountered many intriguing cases, but the case of the ghost in the machine is one to test even the most experienced of detectives.