Last seen boarding a plane which exploded mid-flight, crime writer Ethelred is discovered, to the bafflement of his dogged literary agent Elsie Thirkettle, to be alive and currently residing in the Loire Valley. Having followed Ethelred to a run-down French hotel hosting a stamp-collectors conference chaos ensues when one guest is found fatally stabbed, soon followed by the murder of a rich Russian oligarch. Elsie is torn between her natural desire to interfere in the investigation and her urgent need to escape from the hotel and buy high class chocolate.Elsie's prime suspect is the obnoxious Herbie Proctor, whose reasons for being at the hotel at all are unclear, but who seems to be investigating Elsie while she investigates him. Ethelred, meanwhile, seems to know more about the killings than he is letting on. Finally the time comes when Elsie must assemble the various suspects in the Dining Room, and reveal the truth . . .