Agatha Raisin has never been one for enforced holiday cheer, but her friendly little village of Carsely has always prided itself on its traditional Christmas festivities.
This year the bells will not be ringing out Silent Night as Mr John Sunday, an officer with the Cotswold Health and Safety Board, has chosen Christmas as the time to crack down what he sees as gross misconduct by every man, woman, and child in the vicinity.
The village shop is told it can no longer have wooden shelves which have been there since the time of Queen Victoria 'in case someone is inflicted with a splinter.' The village school is ordered to leave lights on at night 'to prevent unauthorized intruders from tripping in the dark.' And children are warned to not play with "counterfeit banknotes" after passing around toy money in the playground.