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Hattie Davish is delighted to be ably assisting her wealthy employer, Sir Arthur Windom-Greene, an English scholar who is fluent in Civil War history and hard at work putting together a definitive biography of General Cornelius Starrett. Their research takes them to Galena, Illinois, where they quickly learn that time has done little to heal old battle wounds. Distrust and betrayal seem to linger in everyone's minds, none more so than the General's pompous son Henry. And Hattie is certain he has something to do with a string of bizarre incidents in town, especially when he turns up dead. Between her work for Sir Arthur, preparing for Christmas, and unscheduled visitors from her past, Hattie hardly has time to investigate a murder, but soon she is lost in a labyrinth of secrets and deceit that leads to more questions than answers. Henry had a knack for finding trouble and making enemies, and there is no shortage of suspects, including Sir Arthur. Now, Hattie must uncover the truth while maintaining her civility in a most uncivil situation.