Torie (Victory) O—Shea, an ardent researcher of genealogy, lives with husband Rudy and two children in New Kassel, Missouri, where she works as a guide at historic Gaheimer House (A Veiled Antiquity, 1998, etc.). Right now, she’s taking a week off to host her family’s annual Christmas get-together, an event somewhat shadowed by the arrival of a package—no return address—containing copies of newspaper accounts of the murder, in 1948, of Torie’s great-grandfather, Nathaniel Keith, who was shot to death on his front porch; his wife Della Ruth and family members inside; his killer never found. Suddenly feeling betrayed, since she—d always been told that Nate died in a hunting accident, Torie talks to Sheriff Colin Brooke, her mother’s suitor, who agrees to try to find the detective on the case, Hubert McCarthy. Relatives are pouring in—aunts, great-aunts, cousins, alcoholic Uncle Jed, and Torie’s father—all looking forward to the annual big dinner (at the KC hall) where Torie plans to announce her just discovered pregnancy. Her dogged research has turned up several motives for nasty Nate’s murder: a string of clandestine affairs; at least one unacknowledged child; a soured business deal; an accidental (or was it?) drowning. Along with all that, enough ancient history surfaces to enable Torie to put a name to the unconvincing killer. A mix of tedium and confusion. Only straight-talking, feisty Torie saves the day.