Jan Kepler and Swatara Creek Police Office Flora Vastine were neighbors and schoolmates, but never close.
When Jan, a school teacher, avid birder and niece of a fellow officer, goes missing and is found dead in a nearby tract of woods, Flora finds herself thrust into the middle of an examination of the other woman's life, as she searches for clues.
As usual, the police have more than one crime to deal with. There's illegal timbering and a series of vehicle thefts taking up their time.And there are other issues to deal with. Flora is concerned there's some shakiness in her relationship with Cpl. Harry Minnich, who seems to be making a lot of secretive phone calls.
Still, Flora maintains focus on the murder, and despite evidence implicating other suspects, the odd behavior of another former classmate rouses Flora's suspicion. Flora's probing opens personal wounds, as she observes the cost of obsessive love and tracks down the killer.