It's a sparkling August day on Washington Island and the resonant notes of stringed instruments float on the breeze toward sailboats and the approaching ferry. After a forty-year absence, the Viola da Gamba Festival has returned to the picturesque isle on the tip of Wisconsin's Door County peninsula. Sheriff Dave Cubiak enjoys a rare day off as tourists and a documentary film crew hover around the musicians.
The jubilant mood sours when the ferry arrives and an unidentified passenger is found dead. Long-time residents recall with dismay the disastrous festival decades earlier, when another woman died and a valuable sixteenth-century instrument-the fabled yellow viol-vanished, never to be found.
Cubiak follows a trail of murder, kidnapping, and false identity that leads back to the calamitous night of the twin tragedies. With the lives of those he holds most dear in peril, the sheriff pursues a ruthless killer into the stormy northern reaches of Lake Michigan.
Patricia Skalka is the author of Death Stalks Door County, Death at Gills Rock, and Death in Cold Water, winner of the Edna Ferber Fiction Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers. A former staff writer at Reader's Digest, she presents writing workshops throughout the United States and divides her time between Chicago and Door County, Wisconsin.