It's the time of the Great Dionysia, the largest arts festival of the ancient world, held each year in honor of Dionysos, the god of wine. But there's a problem: A ghost is haunting Athens's grand theater. Nicolaos and his clever partner in sleuthing are hired to rid the theater of the ghost so that the festival can begin.
Greece, 545 BC: It is illegal to die on the sacred isle of Delos. It's also illegal to give birth there. Yet when murder is committed, the only available detective to solve the crime is the priestess Diotima, and she is heavily pregnant. Delos is the holy birthplace of the divine twins Apollo and Artemis, and it is an island in crisis. Not only has murder tainted the holy sanctuary, but there are about a thousand Athenian troops on the island. The army is led by the statesman Pericles and has come to take away the treasury of the Delian League, the defense fund of the Greeks against the Persian Empire. The holy people are in uproar. The Athenians are exasperated. The High Priest of the Delian Apollo is not amused. To cap it off, Diotima's husband and fellow detective, Nicolaos, is implicated in dodgy dealings that link him to the murder. Somehow Diotima must find the killer, calm the island, and, have a baby.
Seattle investigator J. P. Beaumont is working a series of murders in which young women have been set on fire, their charred remains scattered at various sites. In the Arizona desert, sheriff Joanna Brady is looking into a homicide in which an elderly caretaker was run over. A breakthrough in Beaumont's case leads him into Brady's jurisdiction.