Stanley Buckle befriends reclusive artist Neville Windrush. Neville disappears one day and is presumed dead. His paintings start selling for a lot of money. Stanley is invited to Neville’s posthumous exhibition. He learns that Neville is not dead and that there is a plot to kill him in order to keep the price of his work high.
Stanley works out where Neville is and goes looking for him. He fool s his mother into thinking he is safely on a nature trip.
On the journey he encounters Elsie Robinson and Francesco Allegretto. Elsie is a motherly figure. He suspects Allegretto is the contract killer. It turns out to be Elsie.
There are numerous twists and turns but Neville and Stanley survive. The big surprise is then that Neville is the father of the Stanley’s friend Ewart. Neville had left the island not knowing about Ewart. We get a charming fairy-tale ending.
The story is framed as Sally’s uncle tells her why the picture of Neville’s that he has has a bullet hole in it. An epilogue shows us Sally and her uncle being taken by helicopter to Neville’s exhibition. Her uncle is Stanley Buckle and Neville is now so rich and famous he can provide a helicopter for them.
Each chapter heading is a song title and has a line drawing at the beginning that hints at the content. The chapters are of substantial length. The novel is 204 pages long and uses blocked text with an adult font.