Two years after the Yuletide murder of her brother Nathan closed Hawthorne House, her bed-and-breakfast outside upstate LeFavre, Michigan, Sara Bartlett is ready to reopen. Her first pair of guests--Chicago homicide detective Jeremy Ransom and his grandmotherly friend Emily Charters, recuperating from open-heart surgery (Ransom for Our Sins, 1996, etc.)--couldn't be more suitable. Egged on by seasonal benignancy and simple nosiness, Ransom and Emily swiftly narrow the suspects down to Hawthorne House baker/cleaner Millie Havers, rolling-stone handyman Hansen Crane, cocky odd-jobber Johnnie Larkin, Nathan's old girlfriend Amy Shelton, and Sara's old flame Sheriff Jeff Fields--then watch as a second murder narrows the field even further. As quietly warming as a Christmas breakfast.