Way back during the crusades Richard I presented the Huntingforest family with the tiny Balkan state of Averna. Since that time the kingdom has been forgotten, until circumstances in Europe suddenly render it extremely strategically important to the British Government. Unconventional detective Albert Campion is thus hired to recover the long-missing proofs of ownership - the deeds, a crown, and a receipt - which are apparently hidden in the village of Pontisbright. In Pontisbright, Campion and his friends meet the eccentric, young, flame-haired Amanda Fitton and her family who claim to be the rightful heirs to Averna and join in the hunt. Unfortunately, criminal financier Brett Savanake is also interested in finding the evidence for his own ends. Things get rather rough in the village as Savanake's heavies move in and up the pressure on Campion to solve the mystery before they do...