hen the residents of Morton Fendle learn that the local mill is to be shut, many also realize that they will lose their investments in the place. Alan Hollingsworth had encouraged the locals to invest but he is now bankrupt and refuses to explain what has happened to the money. Feelings are running high and Gray Patterson in particular, Hollingsworth's one time partner, seems ready to do something about it. When Hollingsworth's wife disappears, Barnaby concludes that she has been kidnapped and that may account for the missing money. Bur who exactly are the kidnappers and why have they targeted Mrs. Hollingsworth in particular? A hidden romance and eventual betrayal allows Barnaby to bring the culprits to justice.

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