Having decided to redecorate Woodside Cottage, Jude engages the services of local man Pete, who painted and decorated the homes of Fethering residents for many years. Pete is currently working on Footscrow House, a large Victorian building that is being converted into holiday flats by a local developer. Having arranged to meet at Fiasco House, as it is known locally due to the many failed business enterprises over the years, Jude and Pete make a surprising discovery behind a wall panel: a woman's handbag! The casual discovery becomes serious when the police identify the handbag's owner as Anita Garner, a young woman who vanished under suspicious circumstances twenty years earlier. Determined to find out what really happened to Anita all those years ago, Jude and her neighbor, Carole, investigate—and are plunged into a maze of deception and murder.