The one person who never teased young James Bond about his famous uncle (‘I think I'll call you 003½,’ joked his housemaster) was old Mrs Frame of Hazeley Hall, the estate next to his parents' cottage. She gave him a key to her walled garden and the run of the bothy in it; it was to be a secret between them, and he was to keep his treasures and do as he pleased there. But then Mrs Frame died during the summer term, and when James returned home, he found the whole place had been sold to an eccentric recluse, Mr Merck. James's chance to recover his precious possessions comes when both his parents have to fly to Africa, leaving him in the care of Mrs Raggles from the village.
Undeterred by Mr Merck's wire fences and fierce dogs, he begins to trespass and makes an unexpected ally in his investigation — small, dirty, towheaded, shop-lifting Sheelagh. He soon finds out that very strange and sinister things are going on in Hazeley Hall… Could there be any connection between the recent bullion robbery and the odd activities at Hazeley Hall? If so, this is surely a matter for adult intervention: the police, Commander Conningtower of Naval Intelligence, the villagers. But they all have their own ludicrous, grown-up reasons for not wanting to be involved. So James is forced to struggle on alone. Soon he is caught up in a thrilling adventure which calls for the same brand of courage and resourcefulness that made his uncle famous.
A story for boys and girls aged 8–14.