It's April. Spring is in the air. Sheriff Milo Dodge is in love.
Emma Lord, owner and editor of the Alpine Advocate is happy for him, really she is. Even though Jeannie Clay is young enough to be his daughter.
Emma is also in love, although Emma is a little reluctant to lose her independence, so much so, that she wouldn't let Tom buy her a new car when her old jaguar was trashed. Instead she's paying him $50.00 a month for the Lexus until it's paid off or they get married. Since this affair has been going on for almost 30 years, she'll probably pay the car off.
She has unwed mother, Amber Ramsey & baby Danny living with her. Amber is an unbelievable slob. And she's inherited two cats, Rheims & Rouen.
In the middle of all this, Emma gets a phone call from a long unheard from cousin Ronnie Mallet, who's in jail for murdering his girlfriend Carol Stokes. Carol had grown up in Alpine, and he had heard through her that Emma was some kind of investigator and could she help him.
At first Emma doesn't want to do anything. It's Easter and her brother Ben, who's a priest in Tuba City, Arizona and her son, Adam, who's a seminary student in St. Paul are coming for a visit. But plans are upset and Emma finds she's going to be alone over the Easter weekend, so her sidekick and employee from the paper, Vida Runkel talks her into checking out Ronnie's story. Vida thinks family is the most important thing in the world, even if you don't know them.
Ronnie turns out to be somewhat of a dunderhead, he's more worried about the whereabouts of his dog than the fact that he's in jail for murder.
Checking out the victim, Emma finds that Carol Stokes is the kind of person who probably had a lot of people who wanted to kill her.