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On the day an Arab trade delegation visits the Broom family's arms factory owner Henry Broom announces a proposed French merger,which his abrasive,estranged wife Nora opposes. Soon afterwards the corpse of unpopular workman Percy Malleson is discovered,the suggestion being that the Brooms used him to spy on the work-force after the suspension of employee Lenny Frost. Then Morse learns that Percy was actually Eustace Kendrick and he was investigating the disappearance of his girl-friend Olive Rix,who had been romantically involved with Harry,the now deceased elder son of the Brooms. However,following a second murder another suspect and motive come to Morse's attention.