In this 22nd edition of the “In Death Series” Eve Dallas is confronted in the days before Christmas with a quick murder investigation of a Santa who has leapt from a building and killed an innocent bystander when he falls on him. As she gets this murder cleaned up a mysterious woman shows up in Eve's office claiming to be her "mama." It turns out this woman was the cruel foster mother Trudy Lombard, who took nine-year-old Eve in after she is found wandering the streets covered in blood. Trudy made her clean the kitchen floor with toothbrushes and locked her in dark bedrooms as some of the punishments for being a “dirty wicked child”. Trudy doesn't want reconciliation though; she is after blackmail money from Eve or her husband Roarke.
Roarke won't be blackmailed and threatens her then throws her out of his office. When Trudy turns up dead two days later in her hotel room she and Roarke are immediate suspects, but at the time of death they were hosting a Christmas Party with most of the planets elite. Eve is confronted with Trudy's daughter-in-law and son who are shocked but, Eve is playing this one above board and will find the killer and “put them in a cage” which is what she does best. Mysterious trails of blood are followed and Eve looks into the other children fostered by Trudy to find out many others were also blackmailed. Can she figure out who the real killer is, and not just who wanted her dead?
This report prepared by Tanya