When Lark agreed to run a writers' workshop, she didn't bargain for murder.
Lark Dodge has been dragooned into helping Bianca Fiedler, heir of Hollywood stars turned organic farmer, run a workshop for science writers, a.k.a. journalists. When one of the farm managers is found dead and covered with ice cubes in a bin used to store broccoli, it would be prudent to cancel the workshop, but Bianca insists it’s too late, and Bianca tends to get her way. While it seems likely that one of the farm’s quirky inhabitants must be guilty, Lark and her husband Jay find themselves trapped in a hunt for the killer.
Opening Larkspur Books after relocating from California to the quaint coastal Washington town of Kayport, Lark Dodge, seen last in Mudlark, is pressed by Bianca Fiedler into helping to run a writers' conference on environmental issues at organic Meadowlark Farm. When Hugo Groth, one of the farm's managers, rents an apartment above the bookstore, Lark begins to get a better picture of the eclectic folk who run, and work at, the farm. She learns that the group is an outgrowth of a commune that Bianca, Bianca's husband and Hugo lived on years before. And she starts to sense the discord at Meadowlark. Hugo, says one Meadowlarker, "is a prick." "He's a fanatic," says another. "The interns all hate his guts." Then, 10 days before the conference, Hugo goes missing-later to be found dead in the icehouse. Rather than abandon the seminar, Bianca, believing that Hugo's murder has "nothing to do with my staff," decides that it will go on as planned. Lark disagrees and sets out to prove her theory. Six-foot Lark and her cop-turned-teacher husband, Jay, make an adept team as Simonson gracefully exposes the base passions that can animate even the most sensitive environmental do-gooders.