On a cobblestoned street almost too quaint to be believed, two antique dealers named Grossman and Small have set up shop. Grossman is short and meek, while Small is large and brutish, but their partnership seems happy enough until the day when old Miss Adlestrop purchases the large oak chest in the window and finds Mr. Grossman stuffed inside it - stone dead.
The cozy English hamlet is thrown into an uproar, overwhelming the local constabulary and requiring the services of Detective-Inspector Thomas Littlejohn. Cool-headed and never in a hurry, Littlejohn has solved his fair share of village murder cases. But when the key to the fatal chest goes missing, Littlejohn discovers the community to be so infested with jealousies and secrets that he begins to envy the dead man.