Amid the luxurious surroundings of the Wye Castle Hotel and Country Club, a man is found dead on the course. Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Hook establish fairly quickly how he died, but discovering who killed him proves a more difficult challenge. The golf course and hotel are set in spectacular scenery beside one of England's most beautiful rivers, with Hereford's ancient Cathedral visible in the distance.
In May this incomparable valley is at its best, but it is a bizarre context for the investigation of a brutal murder. Gradually, over the days of their stay, Lambert unearths the secrets of the group who surrounded the dead man. There is an urgency about his investigation, for even while the suspects play golf and enjoy good food and wine, there is more violence abroad within the ivy-clad walls of the old hotel.