When he learns that Kanundda council is planning to hold an art exhibition, Hodgkiss immediately smells a scam in the making. And he is not wrong. The exhibition is designed as a cover for two separate criminal enterprises and Hodgkiss and his friend, Pat Strong, sort out the wrongdoers in spite of the efforts of his son-in-law, Detective Sergeant Donald Burke, to stop them ‘interfering’.
A young woman turns up at the Burkes’ home to enlist Hodgkiss’s aid in finding her missing grandmother. Donald becomes an unwilling assistant as they attempt to retrace the elderly woman’s steps. During the course of their investigation Hodgkiss finds himself once again in conflict with the bullyboys of Kanundda council and uncovers a particularly nasty, opportunistic murder.
While doing their Saturday morning round of garage sales, Hodgkiss and Pat learn about mysterious messages written in cipher being passed between a dodgy merchant banker and the finance director of Kanundda council. Then the man who brought the ciphers to Hodgkiss’s attention dies in a mysterious motor accident and Hodgkiss and Pat set to work cracking the ciphers with surprising results.