The big story is the five million dollar luxury spa that Los Angeles real estate developers want to build around Alpine's mountainside mineral springs - hot news and fierce controversy for Advocate readers, and for the paper's editor and publisher, Emma Lord. Pro-spa Alpiners cite the prospect of sorely needed new jobs. Those against it predict glitz, sleaze, and an avalanche of 'Californicators'. No one foresees the murder that shocks the town. Aided by her House & Home editor, Vida Runkel, and tongue-tied Sheriff Milo Dodge, Emma lines up her biggest, blackest headlines and goes hunting - for a brilliant killer and the strange story behind an almost perfect crime.