Barnaby and Troy investigate the murder of Tara Cavendish, who is beaten to death with a cricket mallet near a quarry on her husband's estate. She is the young wife of Robert Cavendish, a local landowner who is also captain of the Fletcher's Cross cricket team. He is disliked by many: his son, Stephen, who resents his father and is having an affair with a local barmaid; Charles Jennings, whom Cavendish recently dismissed from the cricket team; and a group of locals who resent that Cavendish has closed a public footpath that ran across his estate. The mystery deepens when it turns out Cavendish's housekeeper, Emily Beavis, died in a fall at the quarry site some 18 months previously. With that information, Barnaby is convinced that the two deaths are connected.