Major Pettigrew received a call informing him of his brother Bertie’s death. Mrs. Ali, a Pakistani woman, arrived at the door to see Major Pettigrew, who answered the door while forgetting he was dressed in his deceased wife’s housecoat. He informed Mrs. Ali about his brother’s death and after she left he made a number of phone calls, one to his son Roger and another to Marjorie, Bertie’s widow, an insensitive woman. He later attended the funeral in the company of Mrs. Ali who assists him to drive. His son made it to the reception together with his girlfriend but missed the funeral for their selfish reasons.
The Major is interested in Mrs. Ali and makes a point to arrange a friendly meeting with her. He takes the opportunity to follow up on Bertie’s will and asks Mrs. Ali to accompany him. At the solicitor's he discovered that Bertie had not made arrangements for the vintage rifles that were their family’s heirloom. The Major later found a way to get the guns from Marjorie. Due to their differences, the relationship between Mrs. Ali and the Major was not received well within the community. At one point Mrs. Ali and the Major were separated due to Mrs. Ali’s family issues, but they are later reunited. The two decide to formalize their relationship and at the end of the novel they get married.