Back home in sleepy Pickax, Jim Qwilleran and his Siamese companions, Koko and Yum Yum, are looking forward to country peace and quiet. But their newly converted apple barn home turns out to be not quite the refuge they were hoping for when a corpse turns up in the orchard outside . . . No one in Pickax is sorry to learn that the local headmaster is dead. Though reputedly brilliant, Hilary Van Brook was also arrogant and manipulative, an outsider who managed to offend teachers, pupils and parents alike - just about everybody in town has a motive for murder. Only when a good friend becomes a chief suspect does Qwilleran's instinct for mystery overtake his desire for privacy - and Koko's obsession with a set of antique printing blocks is the first clue to a mystery which takes Qwill and his Siamese sleuths on a day out to the races . . .