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In 1926 even the small Canadian town of Willowsdown is caught up in the world's Pharaoh frenzy. When Dorothea Montgomery's sister makes the trek from England to visit, she brings with her a rare jewel-encrusted beetle pin excavated from an Egyptian archaeological dig. At a community Christmas party, the good folk of Willowsdown admire the pin in all its exotic splendour, but by the end of the evening the pin has disappeared. The painful task of viewing neighbours as theft suspects is intensified when the town's disliked funeral director is
discovered dead in one of his own coffins. Dorothea's discriminating eye for detail and her depth of understanding of human nature make her notably qualified to sort out both theft and murder.