The death of aristocrat Sir Freddy Butler brings DCI Barnaby and DC Jones to the privileged surroundings of Haddington Hall. When Sir Freddy invites his family, including both his ex-wives and the current Lady Butler, for dinner he suffers what appears to be a heart attack. When his Will disappears and his solicitor killed in an arson attack, the detectives close in on Freddy's family. What are they hiding - and where are the mysterious Haddington emeralds?
Sir Freddy Butler has a family reunion of sorts, the purpose of which baffles everyone invited. The guests include all of his ex-wives, his two sons and his somewhat dotty brother, Teddy. He rises at the dinner table and says he has an important announcement to make and then promptly keels over, dead. Everyone assumes he was poisoned but the autopsy reveals he died of natural causes. Soon afterward, however, Sir Freddy's solicitor is murdered and it would seem that Freddy had changed his will very recently. Could that have been the important announcement he was to make and if so, who among the group stood to gain, or lose, by Sir Freddy's death?
- John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby
- Jason Hughes as DC Ben Jones
- Jane Wymark as Joyce Barnaby
- Laura Howard as Cully Barnaby
- Barry Jackson as Dr. George Bullard
- Joss Ackland as Sir Freddy Butler
- Siân Phillips as Lady Annabel Butler (as Sian Phillips)
- Sheila Ruskin as Lady Lucinda Butler
- Annabel Mullion as Lady Tara Butler
- David Beames as Richard Butler
- Joanna Riding as Sandra Butler
- Matthew Tennyson as Michael Butler
- John Franklyn-Robbins as Teddy Butler
- Richard Clothier as Simon Oliver
- Carol MacReady as Hatty Down (as Carol Macready)
- Rebecca Johnson as Jenny Down
- Leslie Schofield as Amos Brown
- Charles Kay as Henry York
- Victoria Lennox as Doris Maple
- David Shaw Parker as Bert Deling (as David Shaw-Parker)
- Ian Barritt as Finch
- Neville Phillips as Vicar
- Naomi Hill as Young Woman
- Andrew Keelan as Young Man
- Ian Knight as Bagpiper (uncredited)
- Paternal revelations
- Teddy admits that Henry York was the father of Richard Butler as a result of a liaison with Lady Annabel at the cottage where Amos Brown lived. This liaison is shown in the opening scenes.
- Teddy also admits that Jenny is his daughter, a secret that he and Hatty had sworn to keep.
- Michael's father is Simon Oliver as a result of his longtime affair with Lady Tara.
- After saying that cooperation works both ways, Lady Annabel asks Barnaby why he didn't ask her about Freddy's death, implying that she somehow initiated his coronary event. Barnaby tells her "Well, that was natural causes", to which she replies "Yes. Yes, of course it was." and she chooses to not look at Barnaby anymore, making him to think about this.
The following actors and actresses who appeared in this episode have also appeared in the following episodes
- Neville Phillips - Faithful unto Death, Garden of Death, Dark Autumn, Birds of Prey and The Black Book
- Charles Kay - Death in Disguise
- Richard Clothier - Tainted Fruit
- Rebecca Johnson - A Tale of Two Hamlets
- Victoria Lennox - Things That Go Bump in the Night, Orchis Fatalis, The Black Book and The Silent Land