Hugo Hawksworth is on the tail of rogue Cold War agents at a top-secret government facility, while back home at Selchester Castle they're awaiting the arrival of the new earl - an American, the long-lost son of the murdered Lord Selchester.
The town of Selchester, rich in scandal and gossip, is unsure what to make of the earl or his teenage daughters, but they know that his sharp-tongued half-sister, Lady Sonia, furious at being deprived of her inheritance, won't be a merry guest over Christmas.
The new Lord Selchester can cope with the strangeness of English country life, but he hadn't expected stolen paintings - or a body in the hothouse.
What's the link between Hugo's investigations and the suspicious goings-on in the town and at the castle? And will he and his allies get to the heart of the mystery before the murderer gets to them?
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English murder mystery with cold-war ties