In the thick of the Cold War, McCain investigates death threats against an alleged red. The citizens of Black River Falls are polite, understanding, and respectful - except when it comes to communism. Joe McCarthy has been dead for two years, but men like Richard Conners are still fighting to clear themselves of his accusations. A liberal who served faithfully under Roosevelt and Truman, only to be slandered as a red during McCarthy’s witch hunts, Conners has begun getting death threats written in blood. He hires private investigator Sam McCain to protect him, but no sooner has Sam taken the case than Conners turns up dead.