Professor James Murray begins work compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid 19th century, and receives over 10,000 entries from a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Dr. William Minor.
When a local man\'s corpse appears on a nearby hillside, no one is quite sure what happened to him. Many of the town\'s residents secretly wonder if they are responsible, including the man\'s ex-wife, Jennifer, and Capt. Albert Wiles, a retired seaman who was hunting in the woods where the body was found. As the no-nonsense sheriff gets involved and local artist Sam Marlowe offers his help, the community slowly unravels the mystery.