ernard King, owner of Finchmere airfield, is knocked unconscious and dropped to his death from a plane. The wrench used to hit him belongs to elderly mechanic Duggie Wingate, who has long been in a feud with Molly Darnley, whom he claims sent his sister Ellie to her death when both women were in the Air Transport Auxiliary in World War Two so she could marry Ellie's lover Henry. Molly's weak son Perry, Bernard's business partner, is being taken to court by a local protest group, led by Eddie Rayner, who blames the Darnley family for the death of his wife. The Darnleys also have financial problems and Molly is shocked to discover that Perry, goaded by his cynical wife Miranda, hopes to sell Finchmere. Nelson then discovers that the airfield is being used for smuggling and wonders if smugglers killed the two victims to keep them quiet. An air display is held, featuring young pilots Alex, Perry's son, and Duggie's great-nephew Gavin Hopkirk, who are love rivals for Eddie's daughter Jessie, Finchmere's receptionist and Gavin's plane is found to have been tampered with. Both lads admit to smuggling involvement but Barnaby believes the motives for the killings are not business-inspired and go beyond the activities of the flying club.

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