Alafair Tucker is a strong woman: caring for her husband and nine children requires hard muscle and a clear mind. She's also a woman of strong opinions, one of them being that her neighbour, Harley Day, is a drunkard and a reprobate. So, when Harley's body is discovered frozen in a snowdrift she isn't surprised that his family aren't grieving much. But Alafair discovers that Harley's demise was anything but natural. Now his son, John Lee, is the prime suspect in his father's murder. At first, Alafair's only fear is that her seventeen-year-old daughter Phoebe will be heartbroken by the news. But, unravelling the events that led to Harley's death, Alafair suspects that Phoebe might be more than just John Lee's sweetheart - she may even be his accomplice in murder.