Nate Burns, a former Baltimore city homicide detective, is the new police chief in sleepy Lunacy, Alaska. The job comes with a free room in the 'lodge', the town's multi-purpose inn, pub etcetera run by 'loose' flirter Charlene Galligan. Sole deputy Otto Gruber is among the failed local applicants. Shortly after Nate gets on sensual-bickering terms with Charlene's fickle, estranged daughter, pilot Meg, lost mountaineers find the frozen corps of Meg's dad Pat, missing for 15 years. State police sergeant Coben dubiously claims jurisdiction and flies out the body. Nate soon discovers nothing is as it seems after Lunatic newspaper editor Max Hawbacker is found shot, with a fake suicide PC note 'I killed Pat'. Uncovering more past secret proves dangerous for dogs, Nate and his job.