When Fred Pearson was in the army during the Vietnam War his life was made a misery by hectoring Sergeant Guedo who repeatedly gave him 'dirty detail' punishments. As a result he has no self-confidence and has been unable to hold down a job since his discharge. One day he goes into his local bar to drown his sorrows and sees Guedo, boasting about his war exploits, as brash and unpleasant as ever. Now is the time for Fred to get his revenge.. .
G.B. Shaw is certainly a gifted chess player. But as he tells his opponent over a game, he is in fact the greatest in the world. To prove it he explains how he planned the perfect murder, after discovering his wife was unfaithful.
Media tycoon Sutton and his two friends are all being blackmailed by a woman with whom all three had past affairs, the disclosure of which could ruin them. Then the woman is found dead. The three men have to dispose of the body without any suspicion linking them to her falling on them. Fortunately William, the faithful chauffeur, comes up with a fool-proof plan.
In New York to promote his new book 'Women Weeping', British author Sam Luke jauntily dismisses claims that it is sexist in a television interview. However, when he returns to his hotel suite unpleasant things start to happen. A phone caller rings to say "Have a nice death," after which a package containing one of his books arrives and explodes upon opening. Sam is starting to get scared. If only he was at home with his wife everything would be all right. Wouldn't it?
A driver picks up a hitch-hiker, perhaps not the wisest thing to do when the radio is full of the news of serial murderer the 'Will-o-the-Wisp' killer and the description given of him fits that of the hitcher. Furthermore the passenger seems quite obsessed with the killer to the driver's discomfort. He even knows how many victims there have been. Or does he?
Walter Oates, editor of a magazine which publishes crime stories, is married to Jane but is having an affair with his secretary Edna, and the two women meet when Edna stands in for an absent guest at a dinner party. Walter is running a competition with a cash prize for the reader who submits the best murder mystery, though most of the entries are rubbish. Then Jane challenges him to write a story, under an assumed name, given that he is the editor. But when life mirrors art, even an assumed name is little defence.
Elizabeth kills her husband because she wants to be with her young lover Ray - who, incidentally, helped in the murder - but she feels insecure because of the age gap and so she has a face lift, as well as taking part in an exhaustive exercise regime to help her keep her figure. And then, one day, she sees a flyer, recommending an anti-ageing process known as the Gift of Beauty. Is this really the answer to her prayers, or is it a means to an end in punishing a guilty woman?
On a wet Saturday, Mr. Princey learns that his unbalanced daughter Millicent has hit and killed the man with whom she was obsessed, but did not love her, with a croquet mallet. Mr. Princey cannot afford a scandal at any cost. When a family friend comes visiting Princey gets his dim son George to attack him, with a view to making it look as though the murder was a case of self-defence. Never has family solidarity been so important. Nothing must go wrong. Will it?
Having arranged the death of her very wealthy husband in order to be with her young lover Stephen - and lavish her late husbands riches on him - Olivia is extremely annoyed by his cavalier attitude when he sees himself as a free agent and takes up with Gloria. He must be taught a lesson.
Jack and Edna's pet parrot dies after laying an unusually large egg which hatches out into a very ugly and fairly large black bird. Initially it does not speak but Jack comes to like it, unlike his wife. Jack suspects Edna of infidelity and comes to see the bird as an ally who will check up on her behaviour for him. Needless to say he is in for a surprise.
Garment manufacturer Harry Elton is in big trouble. Thanks to his business partner Marvin's lack of foresight in predicting the next season's fashions, he stands to lose all his cash and face bankruptcy. But Harry likes it in the town of Wilmington, where he and his wife Roberta enjoy a very good life-style. He does not want to see it go. However, if his wife 'went' and he collected on her life insurance policy, he could maintain his comfortable existence. . .
Steve and Jane are a couple of thieves who travel the country pretending to be market researchers for Silvertone metal polish whilst they find suitable homes to burgle. In a hotel bar they meet the eccentric old Percy, who, despite his tatty appearance, is rumoured to have a hidden fortune. The couple decide to break into his house but Percy has caught an earlier bus home and surprises them. He will cause them more trouble than they could have imagined.
James Howgill finds his marriage to Caroline unfulfilling and wants a divorce but she sees nothing wrong and refuses. He therefore hires fastidious private eye H.A.K. Bates in the hopes that he can catch her out with another man but the story the detective comes back with leads him to see his wife in a renewed light, resulting in a reconciliation. Did Caroline stage manage this by any chance?
Government minister Gerald Overton goes to a party without his wife Jennifer, where he holds forth on his views on law and order - re-claiming power for the ordinary citizen - to some acclaim. After being sidetracked by the seductive Mary Tregallas, he is walking home when he is barged into by a man in a park. He then finds his wallet missing and goes after the man and recovers it from him. However, when he gets home Jennifer points out to him that before he went out he dropped his wallet in the house. . . And there is worse to come.
Holidaying in Connecticut, Gregory visits an isolated hunting lodge and meets a girl called Jane, who tells him a disturbing story about an accident which befell members of her family when they went through 'the open window' on a hunting expedition. Is she lying or will the figures really return as her mother expects?