Wealthy barrister Luke Watchman visits a small Cornish fishing village every summer with his cousin Sebastian Parish and his close friend, Norman Cubitt. Watchman has an affair with the daughter of the local innkeeper one summer but the next summer she will have nothing to do with him. He takes part in a party-piece in which darts are thrown between the fingers of someone's hand. The trick goes wrong and his hand is pierced by a dart. After treatment with iodine, he dies in front of the horrified onlookers. This leaves Alleyn with a tricky problem to solve.
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