The owner of the Easterly Grange Hotel has died just before the annual festival in the hotel's gardens. At the funeral, Barnaby learns that the manager of the hotel is missing. The reading of the will reveals that the hotel has been divided among the missing manager, his glamorous wife, the hotel chef and the hotel accountant. After a dog appears with the severed hand of the missing manager, threatening notes are delivered to those named in the will and accidents befall them. Barnabay discovers that there had been a new will entrusted to the hotel manager. When he disappeared, the new will disappeared.