Judge Deborah Knott should have known better than to take a casserole to a neighbour's house of sorrow. Yes, she owed something to his memory when she heard he'd been killed, but she should have realized that his big-haired, chain-smoking widow wasn't as innocent as she pretended. Yet paying a condolence call on a murderer is only the least of the young judge's problems in this the fourth of Margaret Maron's award-winning series.
Another neighbour is killed almost immediately and this time no one knows why. Is is because his farm has quadrupled in value? Is it his collection of old classic cars? Or has he fatally jerked a killers' chain one time too many?
In the meantime, skeletons keep dropping out of Deborah's own closet every time she opens the door. A past lover shows up to the bemusement of her present lover, her brother seems to have an urgent need for ready cash and she can never be too sure if her own father, and ex-moonshiner, is quite as retired as he says he is.
Now the judge must decide whether family loyalties or judicial standards will prevail.