indly magistrate Gerald Farquharson throws a party in Midsomer Morchard to celebrate local boy John Kinsella winning the world middle-weight title. Guests include local solicitor Giles Braithwaite, his nosy secretary Iris and Grace, tarty wife of Kinsella's abrasive manager Frank Bishop. Gerald, the Bishops - separately - and Sebastian, who is not Gerald's son but the product of his late wife's affair, all want to see Giles urgently but he is murdered and his office ransacked. Sebastian's wife Camilla is pregnant but Sebastian is not the father. In fact he is gay and had had an affair with Giles, for which Iris is blackmailing him. At a reconstruction of a Victorian prize fight in Gerald's gardens, Bishop is also murdered, having sacked John's trainer and Grace's lover Teddy, who, with Grace, was planning to take over John's management behind Frank's back. Iris is the third and last victim of a killer who has gambled rather too much on the outcome of the noble art.

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