Passions flare and murder strikes during a holiday concert series in 1881 San Francisco
San Francisco music-store owner Inez Stannert has a past that doesn't bear close inspection, including running a saloon in the wide-open silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado. But those times are gone, it's now winter 1881, and her music store is struggling. Inez also lacks capital for her other enterprise: staking the business efforts of local women entrepreneurs. So when prima donna Theia Carrington Drake hears Inez play and demands she replace her accompanist, Inez is tempted, but hesitates. The holiday concert series would be a golden opportunity to focus polite society on her store and replenish her bank accounts if she is willing to step out from the shadows. Theia's husband/manager Graham Drake offers to sweeten the pot, so Inez accepts—and trouble begins.
Theia, autocratic and high-strung, seems to attract mayhem and murder. The first victim is her pet songbird, found brutally slain near the ruins of her signature gown in Theia's rooms at the elite Palace Hotel. Her politically ambitious husband hires private investigator Wolter Roeland de Bruijn, also relocated from Leadville, to investigate. De Bruijn, working out of his office in the Palace, joins forces with Inez. When murder strikes one of the Drakes' entourage, the stakes soar, secrets emerge, and passions flare. Someone wants the Golden Songbird silenced—but who?