The story begins deceptively with a pastoral setting in the River Didder and peaceful villages of Didford Parva and Didford Magna. Four businessmen have formed a syndicate and bought the fishing rights of a reach of the Didder. Their unofficial headquarters is the Polworthy Arms. Against the idyllic backdrop however run local passions, rivalries and then murder. It is up to Inspector Mallet to draw upon his fishing knowledge to resolve the case.
Cyril Hare was the pseudonym of Judge Gordon Clark. Born at Mickleham near Dorking in 1900, he was educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. At the bar his practice was largely in the criminal courts. During the Second World War he was on the staff of the Director of Public Prosecutions; but later, as a County Court judge, his work concerned civil disputes only - and his sole connection with crime was through his fiction. He turned to writing detective stories at the age of thirty-six and some of his first short stories were published in Punch. Hare went on to write a series of detective novels. He died in 1958.