A picturesque Yorkshire village is dressed in its finest for the upcoming Noel. But one of its residents will not be celebrating this holiday. Chief Inspector Alan Banks knows that secrecy can sometimes prove fatal-and secrets were the driving force behind Caroline Hartley's life...and death. She was a beautiful enigma, brutally stabbed in her own home three days prior to Christmas. Leaving her past behind for a forbidden love affair, she mystified more than a few. And now she is dead, clothed only in her unshared mysteries and her blood. In this season of giving and forgiving, Banks is eager to absolve the innocent of their sins. But that must wait until the many facets of a perplexing puzzle are exposed and the dark circle of his investigation finally closes...and when a killer makes the next move.