What would you do if a man you hated died hours after fighting with you? Could you explain why your best friend idolized the very guy you despised most in the world?
Carl Izaak Geiger, the director of the Dallas County criminal law library, faces those questions during the biennial Highland Games held in a small Texas town in May 2010. His hopes of showcasing the skills of Highland dancers, pipers and drummers, and Celtic vendors to the community are thrust aside by the soundless murder of his enemy, a fellow piper.
Although Carl was not in the pipers’ tent when it happened, others—including one of Carl’s own employees—implicate him in the killing. Carl wants to explain himself, but his unexpected attraction to the deputy sheriff investigating the crime initially flusters him. His confusion deepens after he finds a key to the dead man’s private mailbox that had fallen to the bottom of his own duffel bag – the same bag the police take with them.
Carl’s quest to uncover the truth about what he finds in the victim’s mailbox steers him to the dead man’s secret high-priced apartment, a vengeful ex-girlfriend, an unusual stripper, and a drug dealer from whom the dead man stole something important and incriminating. As Carl examines reasons why the dead man trusted him with his secrets, he realizes almost too late that those secrets lead him to the dead man’s unforeseen killer.