Pelagia Harper, aka Valentine Lovelace, published her memoirs of her time in Draco, Texas and became an established writer—at least in her own mind. But when her father dies and her stepmother steals her royalties, she finds herself destitute. Also haunted. The ghost of her papa keeps popping up everywhere. When her father’s old flame, Sasha Devine, offers her a way out of her poverty, Pelagia jumps on it before she knows what’s involved. In 1897, the two ladies must travel North to the Klondike (the Wild West is a relative term as far as V. Lovelace is concerned) escorting the coffin of a man said to be Lost-Cause Lawson, a prospector.*It turns out the man beneath the coffin lid is not as dead as he was supposed to be and somehow, Pelagia ends up being accused of murdering a Mountie. Apparently the sensible solution to that is to fake her own suicide. The upshot is that when she finally does arrive in Dawson City with Sasha, she is obliged to take employment as a dance hall girl and a flamenco dancer (Corazon, the Belle of Barcelone). Her boss seems nice though. Very sociable, especially with all of his new female employees. It isn’t long before Pelagia learns that Vasily Vladovitch Bledinoff is giving the biting cold some competition. It isn’t until her friend Captain Lomax receives a new book from England, written by a fellow named Bram Stoker, that she begins to get a clue what exactly is going on with the mode for black velvet neck bands the girls are all sporting. Then there’s all of those really smart wolves, the threat of starvation and disease, and other strange and unusual wildlife.