It's two weeks before Christmas. In the small Missouri town of Beaudin Trace, the holiday spirit is revving up: shops are adorned in seasonal decorations and the annual Winter Scavenger Hunt is in full swing. This year, the grand prize for the hunt winner is provided by The Cookie Cutter, a bakery owned by 40-year-old widow Kate Dunbar. It's her first time to supply the prize since moving to the town several years ago. And she's thrilled to give Pam, the winner, something Pam loves: a huge basket filled with muffins, scones, jams and hot chocolate mix…and shortbread.
But the thrill doesn't last long, for an hour later Pam's found dead outside the bakery—conveniently close to Kate and her employees.
Despite pleas and stern warnings from her friend, Deputy Sheriff Josh Cline, Kate decides to investigate, needing to discover who murdered such a beloved resident, and taking the heat off her and her staff before her business crumbles.
Complicating her inquiry is the string of cookie cutter-style art gallery burglaries in surrounding towns. Are they linked to Pam's murder? Perhaps Harold—the affable retiree who writes outlandish songs such as "Penguins, Arise!"—has something to do with both incidents: it wouldn't be the first time beautiful icing has disguised a burnt cookie.
As Kate hunts for the killer, she uncovers secrets that reveal the killer's identity. The trouble is, that revelation may turn her into victim #2.