Cub reporter Emerald Malloy is assigned to gather church food recipes from the owner of Hot Dish Heaven, a caf in a small town in the Red River Valley. Upon her arrival, she learns of a local, unsolved murder. Confident that solving the case will catapult her from newspaper gopher to investigative reporter, she questions the locals while attending a benefit dinner-dance at the VFW. By the end of the night, shes consumed lots of hotdish and bars while talking to everyone from the Irish, Catholic priest who lives among these Scandinavian, Lutheran farmers to the caf owners eccentric aunts. Shes also met a hunky deputy sheriff and learned some tough lessons about herself. But the question remains, Will she live long enough for any of it to matter?