When Holly Winter accepts her friend's challenge to write about something other than dogs, her presumed subject is the story of Hannah Duston, an early settler of Massachusetts who was captured by Native Americans, escaped, and lived to tell the tale. Soon enough, however, Holly is diverted by the much more contemporary death of one Jack Winter Andrews (no relation, as it turns out), who was purportedly poisoned in the office of his small publishing company eighteen years before--while his pet golden retriever, chained to his desk, looked on. Whether drawn by the coincidence of Andrews's middle name, or the siren call of a dog's involvement (however peripheral), Holly is compelled to find out more about the publisher's demise. Was it suicide, as the police had determined? Or murder, as his widow--and many others--insist? In the end, Holly is unable to unravel all the threads of Hannah Duston's life, but she does manage to solve the mystery of Jack Andrews's death. Though not before the murderer succeeds in killing again, and almost sends Holly, along with her two beloved Alaskan malamutes, Rowdy and Kimi, to the same horrible fate.