After the recent birth of her third child, Missouri genealogist Torie O'Shea is itching to get back to work. When she's approached to research and write a book about a recently deceased local woman who attained fame in the thirties and forties as a jazz singer, Torie figures she's found her new project. But her preliminary research turns up a startling piece of the woman's past: her infant son was kidnapped from his cradle in 1938 and never seen again.
Back in the present day, the mayor of New Kassell, Bill Castlereagh, is fixing to legalize riverboat gambling in the small historic village, which has Torie and her neighbors up in arms, terrorized by visions of neon lights and dancing girls invading their quaint, picaresque town.
Torie knows she has to do something to stop the mayor's plan before it gets started, but she's finding it hard to tear herself away from her research. She just can't stop herself from wondering what happened to that little baby all those years ago. And then a stranger in town turns up dead, throwing the town further into an uproar. Torie's got plenty on her plate, but with her knack for small town politics, expertise in genealogical research, a lot of perseverance, and a little luck, Torie might ferret out the truth behind a bizarre crime from the past with a dangerous reach into the present.