Church pandemonium, as congregants begin to drop like flies, after drinking arsenic-laced coffee just after the liberal Unitarian church Sunday morning service. Four later die, including Alicia Holmes, a visiting minister. Riverton, Alabama’s new Police Chief and church member, Donald Ginsburg, has just witnessed the whole ugly scene. He's already deemed suspicious to many in the Bible belt town, as the bi-racial grandson of Riverton's black activist Eulah Jefferson, and the son of a New York City Jewish university philosophy professor. Ginsberg has barely beaten out police Lieutenant Rudy Woolard, the acting white Chief (whose loyalty may be questionable) for the job. A sarcastic local newspaperman doesn’t make Ginsberg’s job easier.
Widower Ginsberg is being hotly pursued by local amorous gospel singer Amanda Jackson, while secretly harboring a yen for an exotic Eurasian nurse who attends the church. Fourteen-year old son Alonso is the victim of a school bully, further complicating the cop’s life.
Searching for a motive, and after wading through various church longtime grudge holders, Ginsberg winds up with a prime suspect, a disgruntled Lesbian who’s fearful that her minister partner might find a new love in this new church setting; money may play a motivating role, too