© ITV/Mark Bourdillon

It is the night before the reopening of Little Auburn, a derelict village left untouched since WW2, and a 1940s themed party is in full swing at The Cross Keys pub in Great Auburn. In the backroom, three camps fight for Little Auburn's future: idealists Finn Thornberry and Corina Craven champion their Eco-village dream, flashy developers Lucy and Blake Keswick present their Luxury Villas scheme, whilst Sylvia Lennard campaigns to preserve the village as a 'living museum'. Local landowner Roderick Craven will announce his decision tomorrow. Later that night, Finn cycles back to his squat in Little Auburn but is blinded by the lights of a tank which drives straight at him....


Next day, the launch is spoiled when Finn's body is found, crushed beneath the tank. Barnaby and Sarah are mourning the passing of Sykes when Barnaby is called to Little Auburn by his new temporary DS, Jamie Winter. At the crime scene. Winter is pleasantly surprised to encounter Kam as they met years ago on a training course. Digging into the victim's past reveals he was a conman. Finn abandoned his wife and child and stole community funds, but Barnaby and Winter discover that fiancee Corina had no idea. With his decision on hold. Roderick refuses to tell the police whose bid was going to win. Barnaby and Winter visit Finn's rivals Lucy and Blake Keswick to glean more information. Lucy appears helpful, then once the police leave she makes a secret phone call, but to whom? In the deserted village, the peace is broken as a hooded figure makes their way through the gloom towards a derelict building. Gloved hands caress a snake...


Over dinner, Sarah probes Barnaby about his new DS. Barnaby refuses to be drawn but Sarah knows he likes cheerful Winter. Next morning, old publican Fred Messinger finds Roderick's dead body in Little Auburn. Kam tells Barnaby and Winter he was poisoned with cyanide after being lured down a 'foxhole' trench. An old flask is found on the body and Barnaby concludes it has an army connection, putting ex-military man Blake Keswick in the frame. At the pub, the villagers wait for Roderick to announce his decision but are shocked to hear he has been murdered. Barnaby and Winter speak to solicitor Julian Lennard, Sylvia's son, to find out about Roderick's will. Milo Craven, Roderick's estranged brother, is puzzled to discover he will inherit Little Auburn. Later on, Milo and his wife Andrea witness their son Josh collapse to the ground in a fever. A pale Josh tells his dad that he needs to sort out the situation. Now. Milo heads to Little Auburn, but is hit over the head from behind. Alerted by a concerned Andrea, Barnaby and Winter locate Milo and enter the derelict building after him. But they find themselves in a sticky situation as they meet an angry ball-python head on. Quick-thinking gets our heroes out of trouble, but Milo Craven is not so lucky: he lies dead, constricted by snakes...


After exposing the illegal snake farm, Barnaby and Winter delve into the Cravens' background and discover that Andrea cleaned for Julian Lennard's firm. Suspecting she could have tampered with Roderick's will, they ask forensics to investigate. Meanwhile a furious Blake finds out that his wife Lucy is having an affair with Julian Lennard. Julian goes missing just as Barnaby and Winter have a breakthrough with a clue that reveals the killer's identity but can they get there in time?