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ut on a family excursion, accompanied by Joyce, daughter Cully and Joyce's mother who is visiting, the Chief Inspector soon finds himself investigating the murder of Mildred Danvers, whose flask of brandy was apparently spiked with barbiturates. They were all there to attend the annual Skimmington Fair, a decades-old village fête that essentially pitted the women against the misogynist men. There are several suspects including Henry Marwood who returned Danvers' flask to her but has lied to the police about it; the local Doctor who seems just a tad too quick to pronounce the death to be of natural causes; and the Rev. Anthony Gant who, in addition to being Mrs. Danvers' cousin, was also mounting a court action against the Skimmington women in a attempt to stop what he saw as the annual denigration of men. A second murder, this time from a target shooting rifle, clearly puts Barnaby and DS Jones in the middle of a major investigation. A third death leads to the discovery of hidden family connections and the solution to the mystery.

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