The village of Mere Barton is facing a time of upheaval, with traditional lifestyles being forced out by newcomers. When local author Sheila Malory is asked to research the history of the village, she has her reservations; 'The Book' is one of the many projects of Annie Roberts. Miserly and controlling, Annie is at the heart of everything that goes on in Mere Barton, much to the resentment of her fellow villagers. When Annie suffers a fatal bout of self-inflicted food poisoning, there is more relief than grief around the village. However, as Sheila continues to work on the book, she discovers that Annie's influence was due to more than just her forceful personality. Was the death as accidental as it first seemed?