When the chairperson of the prestigious Knapper-Warburton Literary Prize dies in suspicious circumstances, Robert Amiss (the token sane member of the judging panel) wastes no time in summoning Baroness 'Jack' Troutbeck to step into the breach.
Speculation that a killer may be targeting the judges worries the baroness not in the slightest - it's the prospect of immersing herself in modern literature that fills her with dread. But noblesse must oblige, even when it means joining the ranks of the superciliati sitting in judgment of the literati.
With the baroness at the helm, the judges resume the task of whittling away at the short-list. But the killer, too, has resumed and is whittling away at the judges one by one.