|| While outside on Manhattan's Midtown streets a fierce snowstorm rages, nothing can dampen the excitement inside the elegant ballroom of the Pierre Hotel. Hunt clubs from all over North America have gathered for their annual gala, and nobody is in higher spirits than "Sister" Jane, Master of the Jefferson Hunt in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Braving the foul weather, Sister and her young friend, "Tootie" Harris pop out to purchase cigars for the celebration at a nearby tobacco shop, finding themselves regaled by the colorful stories of its eccentric proprietor, Adolfo Galdos. Yet the trip's festive mood goes to ground later with the grisly discovery of Adolfo's corpse. The tobacconist was shot in the head but found, oddly enough, with a pack of American Smokes cigarettes laid carefully over his heart. When a similar murder occurs in Boston, Sister's "horse sense" tells her there's a nefarious plot afoot, one that seems to originate in the South's aromatic tobacco farms. Meanwhile, Sister's nemesis, Crawford Howard, will stop at nothing to subvert the Jefferson Hunt Club.