It is a Charm City traditionan annual visit to the Baltimore gravesite of Edgar Allan Poe on the renowned authors birthday by a mysterious cloaked figure bearing gifts of three roses and a half bottle of cognac. This year, private investigator Tess Monaghan is among the witnesses of the locally cherished rite. And on this frigid January night, she sees two caped visitors approaching Poes resting place. One leaves his tribute and escapes. The other dies there, felled by an assassins bullet. Curiosity brought Tess here to observe the desecrationand common sense tells her to lay low in its wake. But someone wants Tess involved in the murder investigation in the worst way. An anonymous stranger who leaves roses and cognac and cryptic clues on her doorstep; someone who knows her habits, her haunts . . . and what she knows. And suddenly home is a safe haven no longer.