A 22-year-old man was last night being quizzed by murder detectives after the body of a work colleague was found outside a Westcountry pub.
The victim, a 32-year-old man believed to be from South Wales, was discovered in the street in the village of Malborough, in South Devon, on Saturday morning.
Paramedics, who were called to the village shortly before 7am, tried in vain to revive the 32-year-old and alerted Devon and Cornwall Police. A force spokesman said the victim had "clearly been assaulted".
The 22-year-old man, who is understood to have been a workmate of the dead man, was arrested on suspicion of murder at 7.20am.
He was yesterday being questioned by detectives at Torquay police station.
It is believed the men had been staying at the Old Inn, in the middle of the village, part of which was searched by officers over the weekend.
"We have had a number of officers in the village conducting house-to-house inquiries," a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said.
"We have a couple of witnesses and statements have been taken from them. Scenes of crime officers have also been there as well."
The case is being investigated by the force's major crime investigation team. Extra patrols were also carried out in the village to reassure the local community.
The victim's family, also believed to be from South Wales, have been informed. The conclusions of a post-mortem examination are awaited.
News of the murder inquiry stunned the quiet community, which lies just off the A381 between Salcombe and Kingsbridge.
John Yeoman, chairman of Malborough Parish Council, said: "It is such a quiet village, it is not the sort of thing that happens around here.
"There is a bit of minor crime occasionally but I can't remember there ever being a major police operation here and I have lived here all my life."
The 64-year-old added: "It has come as a complete shock. It is so unusual, it is all a bit unreal."
Devon and Cornwall Police have appealed for anyone with information relating to the incident to come forward and assist with the inquiry.