It all begins with a sidewalk Santa staring at Jessica with fear and recognition. Behind the beard is Waldo Morse, former drug smuggler and the most notorious citizen of Cabot Cove, Maine. Jessica hasn't a clue as to how he ended up as a street corner Saint Nick, but she agrees to meet him at two o'clock the next day. Jessica shows up with her camera, but in no time at all Santa is dead - a totally unexpected murder in progress. While the police are strangely slow on their feet, and the dead man's wife uncommonly fast on the run, Jessica, in her no-nonsense way, decides to do what she does best: strategically snoop around and graciously outwit the pros on both sides of the law-doing whatever it takes to stop a murderer from striking again.