When a group of wealthy Americans appears in Oxford on a guided tour, one of the women in the tour is on a special mission. A rare and historically valuable jewel had come into the possession of her late husband. It was his wish that that the jewel be donated to a museum in Oxford and, in the company of her new husband, the woman has carried the jewel to Great Britain to deliver it herself. However, the night before she is to donate the gift, she dies of an apparent heart attack and her purse containing the jewel is stolen.
This would hardly seem to merit the attention of Chief Inspector Morse; after all, there is no homicide involved and he's not about to waste his time investigating a simple theft. But after determining that the lady did, indeed, die of natural causes, Morse can't help but think that something very odd is going on here.
When another person associated with the tour is found dead, it clearly is a homicide and Morse and his faithful sergeant, Lewis, are on the job. As is always the case when Morse confronts a killing, the puzzle is very complex and it's going to take a very keen mind to sort this one out. But, of course, as readers of this series know full well, Morse has exactly that sort of mind, and, as always, it's fun to watch him sort through the issues and the characters involved until he's satisfied that things have properly fallen into place.
This is another of those intricate English mysteries that could never occur in real life. But it's entertaining to suspend disbelief and watch Morse work his magic once again. This is a book that will appeal to lots of those who love traditional British mysteries