Hooky Hefferman is ordered by his dominating aunt in Hove to visit the Cotswold village Barwold where the young daughter of an old friend is thought to be keeping bad company. Meanwhile one of the newsagents in a nearby town is going dangerously mad and is trying to rid the neighborhood of the local whores. Hooky spends much time in the local pub where
he takes note of curious behaviour and discrepancies. He also finds himself at odds with the local police.