Scottish author Stef Penney sets her first novel in the small settlement of Dove River in the Canadian wilderness of 1867. After Mrs. Ross discovers the body of her neighbor Laurent Jammett, a trapper and former employee for the Hudson Bay Company, she dutifully reports the apparent murder to the de facto legal representative Andrew Knox. Immediately, the authorities are called in: representatives of the Hudson Bay Company including the youthful Donald Moody who becomes involved in a romantic subplot. Also arriving are half-breed Indian and trapper William Parker who originally is suspected of the murder, and American trader Thomas Sturrock who, years earlier, was involved in an attempt at tracking the disappearance of two local girls.
Mrs. Ross soon regrets her discovery; she realizes that her teenage son Francis has been missing since about the time of the murder. With William Parker as her guide, she sets off in search of Francis. The company representatives are in close pursuit, interested in determining if Francis is the murderer. Surprises abound as the chase continues, with a somewhat unexpected denouement. The reader is presented with more than one mystery to solve. The multi-dimensional characters, richly detailed text, and energetic plot add interest to this novel.