The brutal stabbing of local philanthropist Einar Rasmussen Jr. outrages folk in the old logging town of Alpine. But, strangely, editor Emma Lord of The Alpine Advocate can scarcely pry a word out of the victim's reclusive relatives. Sheriff Milo Dodge isn't much help either, now that he and Emma are no longer an item. So intrepid Emma goes solo, hot after a story that sparks through town like wildfire, fueled by rumor, malice, and the deadly antics of a maniac. . . .