Basil Ackroyd, a refugee from a financial scandal in an English municipal council, becomes the mayor of a small town in the French Midi saturated with expatriates. He has been running the town as his own domain for many years when outside influences threaten to rob him of his ill-gotten gains. His total lack of sensibility to those around him and insatiable greed blinds him to the real situation and his efforts to combat the menace results in multiple mishaps and a worsening of his position. The hero, Basil Ackroyd, is gloriously Machiavellian and amoral, endlessly scheming and machinating for his own selfish benefit and advantage. Unfortunately for Basil, his schemes have a habit of blowing up in his face and destroying him. But he is never discouraged and is endlessly re-inventive.