r. Blake finds himself one of the three judges for Ballarat's annual begonia festival along with Charles Griffith and local heiress Angela Waterston who also happens to be one of Blake's patients. However, he is soon investigating the death of Prof. Kenneth Ormond, who ran the festival and was found in his hothouse which had been set alight. The post mortem determines the Ormond had been strangled and was dead before the fire started. The initial focus of the investigation is the hot-tempered Nick Manos who had quarreled with Ormond and Griffith at the festival's opening ceremony, accusing them of corruption. He seems to have an alibi however. Blake is equally concerned with Angela who suffers from aplastic anemia and whose condition has taken a sudden turn for the worse. It's one of Jean's delicious cakes that points him in the direction of the killer.

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