Lord Peter Wimsey is an amateur detective. He is to be married to Harriet Vane, who writes crime novels, at a big Society wedding. Harriet has little charms made so that they both promise not to get involved with any more crimes as they are 'retired'. As a wedding present, Peter purchases the old Jacobean home, where Harriet grew up, called Tall-boys. After the marriage, they go to their new house to get the keys from the previous owner named Noakes. Noakes, who now has money, has no intention of paying wages or any debts that he owes. Upon arriving at the house, Lord and Lady Wimsey find no one at home and finally borrow a key to get in. They have supper and retire for their honeymoon. The next day, people are brought in to clean the house, the chimneys and the grounds and they find the body of Noakes in the cellar. Lord and Lady Wimsey try to stay out of this murder as they promised, but that may not be so easy after all.