Strapped for cash Lovejoy recruits old time con artists Matron Jackie,Gideon and Henry the Hearse Chaser to attend an auction where he is selling a painting by local artist Jessie Webb and purposely bid against each other to bump up the selling price. He is successful but incurs the wrath of Lady Jane,who was also - innocently - in the bidding and ultimately has to hand over his gains to a young antique dealer he has rooked.
Lovejoy is intrigued when famous violinist Lindsey Parry-Davies mysteriously asks him to make his valuable Stradivarius look like an imitation but nonetheless calls on the services of Tommy Norris,Liverpool supporter and king of the violin fakers. Eventually,after an attempt to burgle his house,Lindsey admits to Lovejoy that his plan was to thwart his stepfather,a failed musician who collects instruments solely to display them though the pair are reconciled.
Charlie Gimbert,Lovejoy's former landlord,returns,with Murray McNally,a once famous snooker player,now a bad-tempered drunk,whose management Gimbert has 'inherited'. McNally is anxious to locate and buy the billiard table that once belonged to Mary,Queen of Scots and the trail leads to Fotheringay and Sir Anthony,descendant of the queen's last jailer. The table is - apparently - still there and Gimbert buys it,as a gimmick,to raise cash on McNally's exhibition tour. McNally himself has other plans for the table.
Facing huge death duties Christian Shotley asks Lovejoy to sell his family's antiques,only for Lovejoy to find they are excellent forgeries made by Christian's father. However when local ladies' man 'Beau' Whittaker discovers a flag dating from the battle of Lexington hidden in the family church a profitable sale seems likely but then American air force colonel Fellowes claims the flag as being stolen from his family two hundred years earlier. With the local vicar entering the fray it is as well that the Shotleys own a priceless set of model soldiers whose sale could ...
Retired RAF officer Connaught asks Lovejoy to sell a collection of Jewish religious artefacts,allegedly purchased by his late wife and with no provenance. However whilst Lovejoy asks father and son dealers the Solomons to price them Connaught makes a quick sale to Gimbert and when the Solomons tell him the whole lot was looted by Nazis from Polish synagogues Lovejoy understands why. When the collection is stolen Eric catches the thieves but Mr Solomon recognises that dishonesty takes many forms and that Connaught is not all he seems to be.
Whilst visiting a scrap yard for a replacement indicator lamp for his truck Lovejoy buys an old iron canon,which gets him stopped by the police and almost destroys a pub's cellar. This attracts the attention of ordnance expert Major Turpin who tries to steal the canon whilst Lovejoy is at the Tower of London finding out its value. Fortunately for Lovejoy the elderly couple who accidentally smashed the light arrive at his house to reimburse him and not only scare off the thief but present him with something of real value.
Lady Jane ropes Lovejoy into organizing a charity auction for the local hospital and visiting the geriatric ward where he meets elderly Florence and stops her greedy son from stealing her antique condiment set. A series of ram raids,robbing antiques to order,spells trouble for Lovejoy when a Sheraton table he is minding for a friend is smashed. Mysterious Belgian Monsieur Forget involves Gimbert in a quest for a particular clock and becomes a suspect in the raids as does Danny, a boy who saves Lady Jane from a mugging and undertakes odd jobs at her house. However the ...
Jim Leonard,Lovejoy's old mentor,asks for his help in a plot to sting greedy Dutch art dealer Hans Koopman,who once cheated Jim's wife's Judy's late father. At a weekend house party where Tinker poses as a lord and Eric as a gentleman farmer they persuade Koopman to buy a fake Klimt painting in exchange for a parcel of diamonds but on Monday morning Lovejoy discovers that Koopman is not the only person whom the Leonards have deceived.
In Ireland where Lady Jane hopes to buy a Jack Butler Yeats painting Lovejoy and his associates interrupt a burglary at the home of disreputable dealer Bertie Montserrat,though Montserrat denies there was a crime. The thieves dropped a page from the legendary and supposedly lost Book of Clonmel,which leads Lovejoy to the monastery of Father Xavier,who rescued the book and to the cleric's sister Maeve Fitzgerald,an impoverished,once famous actress who has allowed herself to be manipulated by Montserrat to gain money to save her house.
In Brighton on a working holiday Lovejoy meets Lady Jane's friend Louise,widow of a Belgian baron and resistance hero. She possesses a valuable porcelain plate,part of a larger dinner service stolen by the Nazis in the war. With the help of psychic Olwyn Lovejoy is able to track down the remaining service but discovers that one of her predictions was grammatically incorrect. Lady Jane meanwhile confesses to Louise her feelings for Lovejoy.