""...a welcome addition to the canon of the late Margery Allingham. ""
It is 1969. and Albert Campion, now in his mature years, is visiting the small Suffolk town of Lindsay Carfax, purportedly to visit his artist niece, Eliza Jane Fitton. The real reason for his visit, however, is to investigate, on behalf of Detective Superintendent Charles Luke, the mysterious activities of a group of nine people known as The Carders, who run Lindsay Carfax. He soon discovers there are mysteries aplenty in this once a prosperous wool town. Why does the number 'nine' feature so prominently? Why did the local school teacher Lemuel Walker disappear for nine days, only to return, unwilling to talk about what happened to him? What of the underground tunnels connecting various buildings? What of two archaeology students who were killed, or possibly murdered, in the town while on a dig? And what about the 'Humble Box', invented in the town in the 18th century, and which is supposed to accurately predict the weather?
Campion soon discovers that his snooping isn't appreciated. During a shoot someone deliberately peppers his backside with shot. After spending a few days in hospital, he takes himself off to the safety of his old college in Cambridge, from where he conducts his investigations. He sends his son, Rupert and daughter-in-law Perdita off to Monte Carlo to investigate Lady Prunella Redcar, originally from Lindsay Carfax, and what she is up to.
Everything gradually comes together and Campion returns to the village to reveal the truth of what has been going on.