This is the story of Nataraj, who earns his living as a printer in the enchanted world of Malgudi, that slumbering Southern Indian village whose peace has been often amusingly and outrageously disturbed by Narayan.
Nataraj and his close friends, a poet and a journalist, find their congenial days disturbed when Vasu, a powerful taxidermist; moves in with his stuffed hyenas and pythons, and brings his dancing women up the printer's private stairs. When Vasu, in search of larger game, threatens the life of a temple elephant that Nataraj has befriended, complications ensue that are both comic and calamitous.
A not unwelcome death occurs; murder is suspected and Nataraj and his friends point guilty fingers at each other and those around them. The suspense never slackens in this bizarre, yet moving tale.