It's the spring of 1913, and love is in bloom for Alice Tucker. Alice's new beau, Walter Kelley, is handsome, popular, and wealthy. Everyone in Boynton, Oklahoma, likes him. Everyone but Alice's mother, Alafair. She sees that Walter has a weakness for the ladies—and they for him. Moreover, Walter's late wife Louise had been stabbed in the heart and her body disposed of in Cane Creek only a few months earlier. The murderer has never been caught.
The sheriff has cleared Walter of the deed—he has an alibi—but Alafair is not so sure that he wasn't involved in some way. Something literally doesn't smell right. Could it be Louise's tormented spirit signaling clues from the other side, or is Alafair scenting a more direct link to the crime?
Even if he had nothing to do with his wife's death, Alafair judges Walter to have been a bad husband. With the help of her feisty mother-in-law, Sally McBride, Alafair sets out to prove to the headstrong Alice that Walter is not the paragon she thinks he is. As she searches for the truth behind the death of Louise Kelley, Alafair uncovers such a tangle of lies, misdirection, and deceit that she begins to think that the whole town has been downright hornswoggled!