When American translator and sometime sleuth Torrey Tunet returns home to the Irish village of Ballynagh, she wants nothing more than to relax in front of a peat fire in her cottage. But when she finds an eight-year-old girl at the bus stop, waiting forlornly in the gathering darkness, Torrey reluctantly takes charge of delivering the child to the country house where her usually dependable aunt serves as housekeeper. What they find at Gwathney Hall, however, is not a warmly welcoming Auntie Megan: it's cold-blooded murder. Historian John Gwathney has been brutally shot in his own house, and the immediate suspect is none other than his housekeeper-the girl's aunt-Megan O'Faolain.
Certain that her friend Megan is not a killer-and unable to resist a good mystery-Torrey vows to track down the murderer herself. As she digs deeper and deeper into Gwathney's research, looking for clues, she gets caught up in a whirlwind of theft, intrigue, and scandal.
Is the guilty party Megan's not-so-secret lover, jealous of the romance Megan and Gwathney had shared? Was it Gwathney's assistant, who stood to gain a great deal upon his mentor's death? Was it Owen Thorpe, whose castle Gwathney visited for mysterious purposes shortly before he was killed? And how does the famous historian's final project-an unprecedented piece of scholarly detective work into the Sack of Baltimore by Algerian pirates-fit into the mysterious puzzle of his murder?
As Torrey struggles to clear her friend's name and uncover the real killer, she must employ all her skills to find the key to this shocking crime-and prove that even in a small town such as Ballynagh, people can keep the most dangerous of secrets...