It is the summer of 1765, and Charlotte Willett is enjoying the balmy languor of Bracebridge with her cultured neighbor, Richard Longfellow. But their peaceful routine shatters with the arrival of Richard’s elegant friend from abroad.
Known as Il Colombo–the Dove–Gian Carlo Lahte is an Italian singer who soon holds the local ladies spellbound. Not even Charlotte is immune to his charms. Though he seems to carry more than a hint of scandal with him, on the day he arrives tavern talk in Bracebridge turns to a more homegrown mystery: a corpse found on the Boston road–his body reeking of liquor, his identity unknown.
Charlotte can’t help but wonder why Signore Lahte is so shaken by the sight of the victim–and why the dead man’s boots and buttons are quickly stolen! As she and Longfellow ponder these matters, further arrivals transform their rustic oasis into a stage for turbulent drama–where any player’s performance could be a deadly swan song….