The aspiring Midsomer Worthy Writers Circle, consisting of Secretary Gerald Hadleigh (Thrillers), School Teacher Brian Clapper (Contemporary Drama), his wife Sue (Children's Stories), Antique Shop Owner Laura Hutton (Romance), Honoria Lyddiard (Family History) and her widowed sister-in-law, Amy Lyddiard (Poetry) hold their monthly meeting to decide which successful author to invite to their next gathering. Despite the reluctance of Gerald, Max Jennings, former psychiatrist, now best-selling novelist of the book 'Faraway Hills' is selected.

On the day of his arrival Gerald confides in Amy that he knows Max from the past and curiously asks her to ensure that they are not left alone at any time during the evening.

Meanwhile Honoria finds an old newspaper in Laura Hutton's shop containing an article about a ship which her later brother, Ralph (to whom she was devoted) served on whilst in the Navy. Whatever she discovers causes her to immediately rush to Hadleigh's cottage but he is not at home.

Max Jennings duly gives his talk to the group, though it is apparent the relationship between himself and Gerald is very tense. As everyone leaves Jennings suddenly makes an excuse to return to the cottage, much to Amy's dismay as the two men are now alone.

The following morning Hadleigh's naked body is found battered to death in his bedroom. Some clothes are the only things that appear to be missing.

Barnaby and Troy commence the investigation by interviewing the writers. Their initial enquiries reveal that none of them knew Hadleigh well or anything about his background.

Sue Clapper claims she and her husband both went straight home to bed after the meeting. Brian, however, has actually been sneaking out late at night to spy on one of the female pupils at the local comprehensive where he teaches drama and is producing a play about inner-city problems.

Amy Lyddiard informs Barnaby about Gerald's request that he not be left alone with Jennings, whilst Honoria is dismissive and evasive.

Laura Hutton admits she was secretly in love with Gerald but is was not reciprocated. She also reveals that late one night she had seen a strange woman she believed to be a prostitute, arrive at Hadleigh's in a taxi.

A couple of days later the dead body of Max Jennings is found in a seaside cottage; he has been poisoned. Troy feels the case is over, Jennings having murdered Hadleigh and then taken his own life. Barnaby, however, is unconvinced and instructs Troy to delve into Hadleigh's background.

After their initial enquiries draw a blank they finally get a break from examing Hadleigh's Will which reveals him to be a very wealthy man with surprising beneficiaries.

The detectives eventually put all the pieces together about Hadleigh's mysterious and undocumented past. Finally though it is Joyce's choice of reading material that provides Barnaby with the vital clues he needs and a desperate race to prevent yet another murder.


Running Time : Approx. 102 minutes