It's Christmas time but many of Gerry Coneybear's friends are away for the holidays and she has no family to celebrate with at the Maples, the old house bequeathed to her by her aunt. Just the 23 cats her aunt left her with. When Gerry first finds a bone in her bedroom, naturally she assumes it's a chicken bone one of the cats has dragged in from the garbage. But it turns out to be from a skeleton buried under the floorboards in the shed where her firewood is stored. On the up side, the skeleton is over 100 years old. But then, more disturbingly, Gerry finds another body, the local innkeeper's wife, who has been murdered in the basement of her friend Cathy's house, which Gerry has been checking on while Cathy is out of town for the Christmas holidays.