When one of her company falls ill on a return journey to Tyndal, Prioress Eleanor accepts lodging at a nearby manor. There, Master Stevyns's wife is having an affair with the groom, the master's eldest son and spouse are obsessed with sin and heaven, while his youngest son, bound for the church, unexpectedly returns with more interest in lute playing than the priesthood. It is no surprise when someone's throat is cut, the sheriff does all he can to avoid offending the family rather than seeking the real killer.
Zookeeper Iris Oakley is sent to a remote farm in Washington State to rescue exotic animals after a drug bust. Outraged, she is determined to break the criminal pipeline that snatches rare animals from the wild and leaves them neglected in old barns. However, Iris stumbles upon a violent crime far too dangerous for a widow with a young son, and it's too late to untangle herself. She is determined to piece the puzzle together, but first she will have to confront a determined killer.
In the summer of 1273, Martin the cooper has been poisoned at the local inn in the village of Tyndal. He had plenty of enemies; the killer could be anyone. Bodies multiply. Suspects disappear. No one likes the direction the evidence points, but God’s justice must be rendered, even for the forsaken soul.
Teddy Bentley, zookeeper at the Gunn Zoo, takes the zoo's llama to a Renaissance fair in the Monterey Bay area and discovers the body of the Reverend Victor Emerson. A close look reveals a crossbow dart in the man's back. The investigation reveals that the Reverend was an escaped convict, and Teddy's mother becomes the chief murder suspect.