This is the third novel featuring the Rev Oughterard, vicar of St Botolph's and genteel murderer of parishioner Mrs Elizabeth Fotherington. So far eluding arrest (but with fears of imminent exposure), he is in the grasp of his blackmailing pal, the shady Nicholas Ingaza, who forces him to steal a valuable figurine of a prancing pig from collector Claude Blenkinsop. Naturally the project backfires and the hapless vicar is plunged into further skulduggery during which someone is murdered.
The Rev's despairing efforts to distance himself from the crime and additional police interest lead to embarrassing complications both for himself and his bishop, the pompous Horace Clinker. Things come to a head when Oughterard's own life is put at risk. Once again it is up to his world-weary cat, Muarice and intrepid mongrel, Bouncer, to save the Reverend's bacon.