Phoebe Ash runs the Quetzal Motel with her father Ricky Lon. It's a quaint inn until one hot summer night when Long John Silver, a tall man in a leg cast and on crutches, pays for a room for Nancy Q, his wife, and him. Phoebe's growing suspicions of the strange Silvers prove well-founded. They are Earth's first extraterrestrials arriving on a deep space probe from their planet Pfarker. Murder strikes Tupelo, a nearby small town. Delwood Craven is fatally ambushed behind the hardware store. His traumatized wife Eleanor has little recall of what happened. The hard-nosed Sheriff Banbridge investigates with the aid of Philip Nostrum, an ex-science fiction author who predicted the ET troubles before he got out of the writing business. This stylish, quirky, and insightful science fiction tale explores the imperfect scales of justice in two very different worlds--on Earth and on Pfarker--and how one savage murder can disrupt and change the lives of those involved forever.