Though as cunning as ever, the formidable Skullion - previously head porter, now elevated to Master - is showing signs of physical frailty after his stroke. So the tricky business of appointing a new Master must start all over again. Meanwhile the College's monstrous debts refuse to go away, and a sinister American media mogul seems determined to make a television documentary on the premises, destroying part of the chapel in the process. Moreover, the widow of the previous Master is convinced that her husband was murdered, so she plants an agent in the Senior Common Room to dig up an unpleasant truth that everyone else would prefer kept under the carpet.
Faced with such continuing crises, the instinct of the true Porterhouse man is to reach for the bottle - or to fall back on the subtle and traditional Cambridge skills of blackmail and kidnap. But will those be enough?