When acclaimed ethnomusicologist, Dr. Archibald Finley Dawson arrives at Twombly College for the Midwest Anthropological Studies Society conference, he's swaggering over his recent bestseller; “The Devil’s Music: Murder and Mayhem in Western Folk Music”. He is the star of the conference, but jealousy taints the air.
Emory Crawford and her husband, chemistry professor and forensic scientist Dr. Jebbin Crawford, join their friend Archibald to entertain the attendees with bluegrass murder ballads following the opening banquet. But their good mood changes when Emory and Jebbin are strolling home and come across Dawson's body.
He has been strangled with his own fiddle strings.
Jebbin, with his colleague Dr. Nibodh “Chatty” Chatterjee, work night and day on the forensics while Emory wonders about graduate student Naomi's relationship to the murdered man and what caused the friction between Dr. Dawson and Dr. Timothy Law?
When Timothy is found murdered, the pressure rises, and Emory's ‘Miss Marple’ like ways are put to the test to figure out what is going on before the killer strikes again.