For the sake of honey, Bognor investigates a cabal of treasonous monks. As the friars of the abbey gather for group prayer, Brother Luke stays in the garden. His tardiness is not due to an overenthusiasm for his potatoes, but to the fact that he is lying facedown in the dirt, strangled to death by his own crucifix. For Simon Bognor, this will prove inconvenient. A special investigator attached to the British Board of Trade, Bognor knows that Brother Luke was an undercover agent, come to look into charges of national agriculture secrets being smuggled across the Iron Curtain.
When the body of Frederick, third Earl of Maidenhead, is discovered drifting downstream in his individually-styled, monogrammed bathing trunks, special investigator Simon Bognor acknowledges that this will be no ordinary murder investigation. For the suspects include some of the bluest blood in the land. Is Bognor out of his depth?
When St John Derby, the editor of the Samuel Pepys column of the Daily Globe, is found slumped over his desk, both very drunk and extremely dead, it's up to Simon Bognor, special investigator for the Board of Trade, to investigate. But will he be able to make a deadline for murder?
Whately Wonderful is taking himself on his morning walk when he spies the slab of sirloin. An exceptionally well-bred poodle, he knows there is something odd about the great hunk of meat, but temptation overwhelms him. Just a few minutes after he gobbles up the suspicious steak, Whately is dead, and the world of British dog breeding will never be the same. Board of Trade investigator Simon Bognor hates dogs nearly as much as he hates their owners, and he doesn't particularly care who killed the prize poodle.
Dinner service is over, the staff has left, and Escoffier Savarin Smith is about to tuck into a couple of bottles of champagne. He seals the windows with electrical tape, fiddles with a canister of gas, and begins to drink. When his staff arrives the next morning to open the restaurant, the champagne is drunk, the air has been poisoned, and the greatest chef in England is dead - seemingly by his own hand. For Board of Trade investigator Simon Bognor, this is a crushing blow.
Bognor braves the frost to discover who has murdered Canada's richest manIn his lavish private train car, Sir Roderick Farquhar draws a bath. When it has been filled to his satisfaction, the portly captain of industry tips in three drops of bath oil and lowers himself into the steam. Within seconds, the poison in the oil has stopped his heart and ruined Simon Bognor's winter.
After a boozy Oxford reunion, Bog,nor is distressed to learn one of his classmates is a killer. Nothing depresses Simon Bognor like a university reunion. Every pimply-faced boy he knew two decades prior has made something of himself, while Bognor languishes at the Board of Trade, muddling along in an investigatory position for which he is hideously unqualified. Although more often than not his job requires catching murderers, he lacks even the observational powers to notice when the head of his old college has been poisoned.
An ancient country custom goes awry, killing a man and spoiling Bognor's holiday.
At the annual Clout, the men of Herring do as they have done for centuries, firing arrows blindly into the woods and allowing their women to retrieve what they have shot. Nobody ever kills anything, but it's a jolly time nonetheless - until the day when a few of the arrows find their mark, pinning a wayward customs inspector to a tree in a bloody parody of Saint Sebastian.
Before retiring for the night, Vernon Hemlock pours a brandy, lights a cigar, and takes a look at his cache of pornography. Far more than a wad of dirty magazines stashed under a mattress, this is a collection of some of the world's finest erotica, dating back as far as a dirty doodle drawn by da Vinci. The millionaire publisher is perusing the Swedish section when the shelves begin to move.....
In the dullest town in England, Bognor becomes enmeshed in a civic club murder.
English politicians love to prattle on about the honest mettle of towns like Scarpington - mid-sized cities full of ugly buildings, ugly people, and a surfeit of wholesome values. In hopes of learning more about just what the nation's heartland is up to, the Board of Trade orders special investigator Simon Bognor to relocate to Scarpington and not to return until he knows what makes the place tick.