Gretchen is an assistant at The Great Beyond funeral home in the village of Hatterton Crow, and she is not having a good day. Her father is having one of his "prescient turns" again, her mother is planning a trip to Spain with her informal ladies' society, and to cap it all, the village baker, Ben Tonkins, has died, which means that Gretchen will be bereft of her favorite dense, jammy sponge cakes. And there is something entirely fishy about Ben's death that sits ill with the intrepid mortician.
And what's worse is that Gretchen's solemn and sensible boss, the honey-voiced Carmel, seems to have come down with a case of the crazies, botching the embalming process on Ben, and getting wildly smashed on vodka before bashing both Gretchen and another villager, Rosie Tawber, with a cricket bat.
But Gretchen knows Carmel, and she knows that cricket was never her game, so she sets out with the help and hindrance of the villagers to discover who, exactly, is the murderer in their midst ii and what could be their motive in this sleepy corner of England.