When Spenser, private investigator, is approached by Walter Clive, president of Three Fillies Stables, to find out who is threatening is two-year-old horse Hugger Mugger, he cannot say no. Then the case takes a more deadly turn when the attacker claims a human victim.
Spenser is back and embroiled in a deceptively dangerous and multi-layered case: someone has been killing racehorses at stables across the south, and the Boston P.I. travels to Georgia to protect the two-year old destined to become the next Secretariat. When Spenser is approached by Walter Clive, president of the Three Fillies Stables, to find out who is threatening his horse Hugger Mugger, he can hardly say no: he's been doing pro bono work for so long his cupboards are just about bare. Disregarding the resentment of the local Georgia law enforcement, Spenser takes the case. Though Clive has hired a separate security firm, he wants someone with Spenser's experience to supervise the operation. Despite the veneer of civility, Spenser encounters tensions beneath the surface southern gentility. The case takes an even more deadly turn when the attacker claims a human victim, and Spenser must revise his impressions of the Three Fillies organization - and watch his own back as well.