Northern Indiana community, portrayed with no softening edges for the deadly lethargy, hopelessness, physical and spiritual poverty, which form the background for young Kennedy's investigation on behalf of his insurance company. An anonymous letter has suggested that a policy holder's death was not normal, and Kennedy plans to make a cursory investigation. But a breakdown of his car added to the stubborn inertia of the community extend his stay, and he begins to experience the undercurrents of the families and people involved. There's his landlady who tries to force her daughter Rose on him there's the pig woman, Molly, hearty, earthy, observant; there's a know-it-all brat, ; there's Henry, hired hand and mentally askew; there's the sheriff who balks at any suggestion of murder, and a drunken doctor who agrees to an autopsy, and unfriendly neighbors. Another killing -- and apprehensions grow. Kennedy, trying to escape it, leaves only to come back to see justice done. Raw -- bold -- not for conservative library patrons and dainty minds. But a good job of tale telling.