Detective Chief Inspector Tony Forward's hobby is directing amateur theatricals.
His latest production for the Sandleton-on-Sea Players is "The Cherry Orchard".
It's nearly midnight and he still hasn't completed the dress rehearsal. Then duty calls: a man with fatal head injuries has been discovered in a remote bay on the East Yorkshire coast.
The man's name is Mark Coulson and he's the Headteacher of a local primary school. But no-one seems able to explain why this respectable, professional man was at such an isolated spot so late at night. His wife is the most mystified of all.
Why were Mr Coulson's pockets empty? Sergeant Wilmott believes robbery was the motive. But if the killer had stolen Coulson's car keys why is his car still parked nearby?
Was Mr Coulson murdered by a jealous boyfriend or husband? That's what DC Diane Griffiths thinks. But Mr Coulson's Chair of Governors says he was a boring man whose only interest was his work.
With such a baffling case to solve how can DCI Forward find time for "The Cherry Orchard"?