The summer holidays and school's out. In Linbury, Freddy and Harry are employed by Russell Warren, the blacksmith's son, to help demolish the remains of the cottage after the fire on the green. Discoveries are made that puts them in danger from the new beadle, Gabriel Levens, who has been appointed to police the area.
However, it comes as no surprise to Freddy that it's the beadle and his assistant who need policing, particularly when a murder occurs and a culprit is soon produced.
Meanwhile, Simon Blotwell is having a hard time at Blotwell Manor, some of it due to his father, Squire Blotwell, a little to the tutor he has been burdened with, but most of it is self-inflicted. His lofty disdain for all his 'inferiors', including the stable boy, Billy, hardly helps him.
Later on in the holidays, he's due to stay at Bruton Manor, a much more conducive environment, but Auntie Millicent - Lady Bruton - insists he bring a friend from school. A suggestion is made that he invites Freddy, but then Freddy is merely a common, country boy...
With the sabres rattling between Albion and Silesia, Freddy wants to visit his friend Carl Birch, who's serving aboard HMS Ajax in Portsmouth and due to sail for the Baltic. But to merely get into the naval dockyard, he needs the influence of someone in a high position in the Admiralty.