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Sylvia Thorn, circuit court judge in Palm Beach County, Florida, takes an unexpected trip to her hometown of Sangamon City, Illinois when her older brother, Willie Grisseljon, is confined to a county hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. A Vietnam vet with lingering side effects from the war, Willie finds a body while he's on vacation. When he tries to report his discovery to a deputy sheriff, he is locked up as a vagrant with delusions. Willie insists on returning to the site where the body is hidden before notifying the sheriff. Soon he and Sylvia discover clues about the murdered businessman, his wife, a tenant farmer, concealed Indian artifacts, and uprooted stands of prairie grass that may help the sexy sheriff find the murderer. But Sylvia runs into trouble when she's caught nosing around the old homestead. She hides from the gun-toting suspects and overhears another murder. Two more narrow escapes, and Sylvia just wants to go home. Relieved when the sheriff lets them return to Florida, Sylvia doesn't realize at first that she and her brother are still in danger. A mysterious new neighbor with a menacing bodyguard, and new information Sylvia finds in her legal system database, provide clues that could solve the murders. Sylvia uses her law enforcement contacts, as well as Willie's intuitive skills, to provide the missing links to state and federal authorities, even though she is forced to make a drastic change in her life as a result.