Superintendent Alan Markby and Meredith Mitchell are in desperate need of a holiday - and the Cotswold village of Parsloe St John seems the perfect choice. Their neighbour, retired journalist Wynne Carter, is as convivial as the village itself and, over a glass of blackberry wine, indulges in her latest obsession, Olivia Smeaton, a racy old lady whose life - and death - she is convinced are not all they seem. Markby is more interested in buying Olivia's house than the circumstances of her vacating it, but Meredith is intrigued: by the old lady, the death of a cherished horse and a dusty junk shop run by a white witch. When another fatality - of a very grisly nature - is discovered, it seems her suspicion is justified. Clearly Olivia isn't the only enigma in Parsloe St John - and her death might be the first of many unless Meredith Mitchell and Alan Markby can make sense of some very secret lives to reach the truth ...