Murder in real time disrupts a writing course for aspiring crime writers. Felicity’s writing friend has to drop out of this week’s course at an idyllic Welsh hotel, where two contrasting writers are to give help and inspiration to ten would-be crime novelists. Shy and uncertain of her talent, Felicity persuades Dodie to take up her friend's hotel booking, though she will not attend the course.
They get to meet the aspiring crime writers, as well as the two tutors. Billy Childs is a popular writer of both contemporary and historical novels, while Mary O'Doyle writes literary fiction much admired by the cognoscenti. Susan, one of the students has already had a novel published. George is a former police detective, who seems to know Eddie rather well. Soon there are divisions between Mary's fans who aspire to her literary style and Billy's who aim for more popular novels. Dodie and William's non-writing wife Phyllis watch from the sidelines as tensions arise. Valerie's room is invaded one night, the truth about Susan's novel emerges, and then there is a real murder.