CI Tom Barnaby and DS Dan Scott investigate the shotgun murder of Jamie Cruikshank, a barman at the Maid in Splendour, a pub in the village of Midsomer Worthy. The pub is now owned by Stephen Bannerman, a much disliked local property developer who has his own plans for the pub. Bannerman's father Michael, the original owner, didn't agree with his son's plans to turn the pub into a high end restaurant nor of his affair with Bella Monday, the daughter of his lifelong friend Audrey. When Stephen is subsequently killed, also by shotgun, Barnaby begins to wonder if Cruikshank's murder may have resulted from a case of mistaken identity.

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