Retired publisher Susan Ryeland runs a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend, Andreas. It should be everything she’s always wanted. But she’s exhausted and beginning to miss London.
Then the Trehernes come to stay. The strange and mysterious story they tell, about an unfortunate murder that took place on the same day and in the same hotel in which their daughter was married—a picturesque inn on the Suffolk coast named Branlow Hall—fascinates Susan and piques her editor’s instincts. One of her former writers, the late Alan Conway, author of the fictional Magpie Murders, knew the murder victim—an advertising executive named Frank Parris—and once visited Branlow Hall. Conway based the third book in his detective series, Atticus Pund Takes the Case, on that very crime.
The Trehernes’ daughter, Cecily, read Conway’s mystery and believed the book proves that the man convicted of Parris’s murder—a Romanian immigrant who was the hotel’s handyman—is innocent. When the Trehernes reveal that Cecily is now missing, Susan knows she must return to England and find out what really happened.