One cold and damp day, a doctor visits the chateau of a noble family. The valet, named James, takes him to the library, which holds the family's most precious possession - a numerous collection of detective stories. The visitor, however, would not talk to Sir Arthur, for he was murdered like his brother Barrymore - the former by an axe-stroke to the head or by the latter stabbed with scissors? His relative Cavaleria in turn falls from a horse, poisoned by spikes inserted into her saddle. The murderer systematically and in alphabetical order kills the heirs to the immense property. The following victims are Diorama, Evergreen, Fiddlecase, Gingerale, Heretic, Illwill, Jitterbog, Knickerbocker, Levingston and Midnight. The causes of death indeed vary: an infected mosquito, an exotic spider, a cat with poisoned claws, a sand viper, poisoned toothpaste, a poisoned envelope, poison gas and poisoned candles. A detective is called for and discovers Arthur's missing daughters Ophtalmia, Patagonia, Represalia, Sinatra and Tularemia, whose bodies were craftily hidden. The detective gradually discovers other victims - Uppercut, Venerick, Waterproof, Xenophobe, Yellowstone and Zigzag, finding out that the culprit was Nevermore who himself committed suicide in a bathtub filled with acid. The library is inherited by James and the doctor. But they do not want to share, so arm themselves and kill each other. The detective has nothing to do any more and leaves.
The members of the family – the victims of the crimes – are presented by figure dummies.