What would you do if a man you hated died hours after fighting with you? Would you tell the police you loathed the guy? 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 stabbing of his enemy, a fellow piper.
Although Carl was not near the place where it happened at the time it happened, other people—including one of his own employees—implicate him in the deed. Carl needs and wants to explain himself, but his unexpected attraction to the deputy sheriff investigating the crime initially flusters him. His confusion deepens after he realizes the dead man deliberately puts a key to the man’s private mailbox into Carl’s duffel bag shortly before his life ended… the same bag the police scoop up when they confiscate everything near the body.
Carl’s quest to uncover the truth about what he finds in the mailbox steers him to a vengeful ex-girlfriend, an unusual stripper, a drug dealer from whom the dead man stole something important and incriminating, and to a search of the dead man’s secret high-priced apartment. As he examines a reason why his enemy trusted him with his secrets, Carl realizes almost too late that those secrets lead him to the dead man’s unforeseen killer.