When Cock Robin is found dead with an arrow through his chest, New York's DA calls in amateur detective and professional flâneur Philo Vance to solve the case. Vance quickly establishes the reference in the staging of the murder to a nursery rhyme line, a pattern that is soon borne out by a succession of stranger and even more perverse murders.
After each murder, the perpetrator sends a note to the press, signed simply 'The Bishop.' Vance must move quickly to stop the Bishop's tyrannous and bloody campaign of death raging through the upper echelons of New York society.
Set against the backdrop of Jazz Age Manhattan with a distinctive and erudite detective, this is considered one of the great classic detective stories.