It's summer 1974 and the second in the series of Charles Paris murder mysteries takes our hero into the midst of the Edinburgh Festival, where he has been asked to perform his one-man show detailing the poems and puns of Thomas Hood. The invitation has arrived from D.U.D.S, Derby University Dramatic Society, after an unfortunate accident to one of their company.
Charles is being hosted in Coates Gardens where he not only meets other members of the party from D.U.D.S, but also the landlord James Milne, who the actors refer to as The Laird. Charles strikes up an easy going friendship with James which includes many a late night sipping malt whisky and discussing the world, especially when tragedy strikes for a second time when the former pop-star member of the cast for Mary Queen of Sots (sic), Willy Mariello is killed in a mistake over a fake dagger. The unfortunate person holding the dagger at the time is Martin Warburton, a frail disturbing young man, who seems to have a secret to keep as he seen roaming around Edinburgh in various disguises.
Still it's not all sleuthing for Charles, who not only having his show very well received by the fringe press has also managed to woo one of D.U.D.S leading ladies, the young and beautiful Anna Duncan, although the beautiful charms of young Anna have also attracted the attention of Charles' friend we met in the first book, the solicitor Gerald Venables.
Mind you this is not the only lady in Charles' life at this moment, as estranged wife Frances makes another appearance and the "odd couple" have a reconciliation of sorts as they take a holiday together at the end of the book.
Again, the book is high on the wit and pun stakes and as with other Charles Paris books you get the feeling there is many a swipe at real life characters from the world of the stage. It's all good fun though and the setting of Edinburgh does give the book an extra lust for life.