There's no place like home for the holidays—even if home is sleepy beachside Brigid's Island, North Carolina. During this season for giving, the town wakes up to a welcome throng of shoppers—and Beach Reads is no exception. But bookseller Summer Merriwether's Christmas cheer turns to cringing fear when she uncovers a deadly secret about her late mother—a secret someone will kill to keep. When the local library hosts a cozy-mystery panel discussion, Summer learns that one of the authors on the panel based her book on an actual murder that shook Brigid's Island thirty-five years before. Worse, she soon learns that her dearly missed mother, Hildy, took a disturbingly deep interest in the case, going so far as to collect clippings and keep a journal of the dark doings—which doesn't jibe with Summer's memories of her usually cheery mother at all. Tidings get worse when Summer learns of her long-lost biological family's involvement in the crime… and still worse when the life of the book's author is threatened. With the help of Hildy's plucky book club, Summer puts her scholarly smarts to work on protecting the cozy author and solving the decades-old murder. But this ghost from Christmas past may still be deadly in the present, and if she can't find the killer, Summer's future will be brief.