Murder arrives in the Smoky Mountains along with the earliest flowers of spring. A snake-handling preacher is murdered with his own snakes. Tennessee Sheriff Tony Abernathy is happiest when his job doesn't require more than minimal work and searching for a killer makes him very busy. Soon, he and his wife, Theo, are embroiled in separate investigations. Tony must deal with reclusive, criminal and just plain peculiar residents. Theo is busy at her quilt shop, gathering information at gossip central and designing a mystery quilt (pattern included). Nothing is as it seems. The county's oddball characters rise to the surface like cream. Problems multiply - identity theft, drugs, stolen cars, romance between man and machine. There is no shortage of gossip, sin, and foul weather to complicate things. Crime is rampant. The body count rises. A deputy is shot. To find the killer, Tony and Theo must stitch the scraps of information together like one of her patchwork patterns.