Storm-bound over the New Year at a Fenland rectory, Lord Peter Wimsey willingly lends a hand in the ringing of a New Year's Eve peal of the church bells. Some months later, a handless, disfigured corpse is discovered in a fresh grave in the churchyard. Lord Peter receives a plea for help from the rector and embarks on one of his most complicated investigations - for this is not the first crime the village has experienced. Fifteen years ago the Wilbraham Emeralds were stolen, and they are still missing. Can there be any link?