The residents of Midsomer Morchard are celebrating the success of local boxer John Kinsella, who wins a world title fight in New York. Avuncular manor owner Gerald Farquaharson throws a garden party, while ruthless promoter Frank Bishop is irritated when their flight home is delayed.


Gerald introduces Barnaby and Joyce to sculptor Libby Morris who is making a statue of another local boxer Tom Sayers to be unveiled at a re-enactment of a famous 1860 prize-fight. Other guests include solicitor Giles Braithwaite, his assistant Iris, Gerald's rude son Sebastian - who wants control over the estate - and his wife Camilla.


Gerald tells Barnaby that a set of his antique knuckle-dusters has disappeared, while Joyce realises Camilla is pregnant and Iris is secretly in love with Giles.


Bishop demands a meeting with Giles as soon as his plane lands, but his wife Grace is equally anxious to see the lawyer as part of her plan to free Kinsella and trainer Teddy Molloy from her husband's control. But when Bishop arrives at Giles' office, the solicitor is sitting in his chair - dead.


Bullard reveals Giles suffered a blow to his face and Iris claims her boss was already dead when she arrived for the late night meeting.


At the gym, Molloy is training Ken Tuohy, Libby's fiancé and fellow sculptor. Tuohy's rage against Kinsella is barely hidden when Molloy and Grace discuss the boxer's reputation with women. Kinsella is to play Tom Sayers in the re-enactment opposite Sebastian as Yankee rival John Heenan.


Gerald tells Barnaby that Camilla wants a divorce and confirms that he is not Sebastian's natural father. Sebastian, meanwhile, claims he is not the father of Camilla's baby.


At the boxing match, Barnaby is stung by criticism of Gerald, surprised that Jones views his friend as a gambler. Sparks fly between Sebastian, Bishop and Gerald. Bishop accuses Molloy of trying to take over and sacks him. Bishop is then late for the statue's unveiling while Tuohy takes Sebastian's place in the ring and attacks Kinsella.


Bishop is found dead at the gym. He's been moved and Molloy, Sebastian, Tuohy and Kinsella are all strong enough to have done it. Iris tells Barnaby a secret about her boss and Sebastian claims she's a blackmailer. She clearly knows more than she's saying and is in grave danger. Then Barnaby realises his liking for Gerald may have clouded his judgement.