The parade of characters that cross paths in Jacksonville that winter in 1901 reflect the eclectic nature of the city that was billed as the South's Winter Paradise. A world famous violinist who is performing in a winter concert series in Jacksonville. A private detective who follows him trying to prove that the violin he has is stolen. The insurance adjustor who wants to claim the violin, but cannot. And Detective Lambert Van Poole who ends up learning more about violins than he thought possible.
To solve the case, Van Poole literally sets the stage for the murderer to slip up and reveal his guilt. The court proceedings that followed may have served justice, but concealed forever the secret of the violin. Could it have been one of Stradivari's creations? The only evidence was lost in that "Most Destructive Conflagration," as headlines termed the great fire that destroyed Jacksonville a few months later.