Set in the Ontario city of Fort York in 1940, this novel introduces readers to Albert V. Tretheway (pronounced TreTHOOee), an oversized Inspector in the Fort York Police Department, along with his colleague, Jonathan (Jake) Small, his sister Adelaine (Addie), and a bizarre collection of characters who make up the Fort York City Council. In early 1940, Fort York is chiefly concerned with the war; that is, until a series of crimes turns their attention to dangers closer to home. A dead, unplucked chicken with an arrow through its heart is delivered to Junior Alderman Gertrude Valentine, which marks the beginning of a series of "pranks" on subsequent holidays, eventually leading to murder. The city waits breathlessly for each week to pass, wondering which holiday (and which Alderman) will be next. The story reaches its raucous climax on New Years Eve in Albert and Addie's boarding house, where Tretheway unravels the mystery in front of the entire cast of citizens.