The basic premise of the book is that time travel is possible, but you can’t move anything out of another time, so it’s basically been abandoned to historians to go back and observe what’s happened. A very rich lady has more or less co-opted this history department at Oxford because she’s building a replica of Coventry Cathedral (which was destroyed in the Blitz), and is trying to track down ever last artifact that may have escaped the bombing. Ned Henry is charge of finding a Victorian monstrosity referred to as the bishop’s bird stump, and for various reasons, ends up back in Victorian times.
The rest of the story is hard to summarize, or classify. It’s like a comedy of manners, with time travel. I really enjoyed it. I am absolutely going to have to track down more of this author’s work. At least now I’ll have a better idea of what moods I can be in to read it.