Peter Kingdom lives and works in Market Shipborough, a beautiful and charming Norfolk market town. He is one half of the local solicitorís firm Kingdom and Kingdom. Without warning, six months ago, his brother Simon left his clothes on the beach and disappeared into the sea. His body has not been found and it will be seven years until he can be officially declared dead.
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Aeste, a beautiful young woman from Eastern Europe, turns up in distress at the Kingdom and Kingdom reception. Her baby has been stolen and she accuses local farmer, and her previous employer, Jack Thriplow, of taking her child. She begs Peter not to go to the police.
An old and battered fishing trawler suffers a devastating explosion in the middle of the night. Father and son, Tom Senior and Tom Junior only just manage to escape the sinking of their treasured boat. Their insurance company refuses to pay out and Tom Senior turns to Kingdom and Kingdom for help. Peter dispatches Lyle to the Insurerís head office, WOLFFE AND CURT, to investigate further.
Gloria hasnít turned up for work, Beatrice is plotting a renewed seduction attempt for Alan, and thereís a squirrel in the attic. Itís a disorderly morning at Kingdom and Kingdom and Mr and Mrs Fanshaw whose appointment with Peter should have begun twenty minutes ago, loiter in the empty reception.
Kingdom and Kingdom resonates with the sound of violent sneezing. Gloria, Peterís wonderful receptionist is coming down with horrible flu and is swiftly sent home. Lyle sits with Herb Griffiths, local horse trainer, who wants to lease a nearby field for his prize racer Ė Flight of Fancy. Herb also gives Lyle an inside tip for the approaching Newmarket races. Peter tries his best to understand why his client Mrs Collins, a well- to-do antiques dealer, is so desperate for a divorce and finally discovers that Mr Collins has recently started cross-dressing. Peter offers mediation, strives to find a way to salvage their relationship but Mrs Collins is having none of it.
Peter decides to sort through Simonís files and move them to the attic, Gloria contemplates taking up some new leisure activities and Beatrice is desperate to join in. Everyone seems to be moving on. Except Lyle, who is feeling totally undervalued - Peter keeps asking him to do mind-numbing tasks, like buy printer cartridges.