Mrs. Hoyle has been found dead in her bed on a pretty spring morning. Her husband has been arrested and locked up in the county jail. Dr. Merryman, the county coroner, is called in to conduct the autopsy and confirm the sheriff's suspicion, that Mrs. Hoyle's death was not by her own hand, as her husband asserts, but rather brought about by the work of a murderous mind.
Dr. Merryman, aided by a part-time nurse, Miss Jaymes, soon confirms that Mrs. Hoyle's death was not suicide. At the same time, he questions whether the sheriff has the right person in custody. With the help of his nurse and a few of the local gossips, Dr. Merryman soon fits all the pieces into place. The secrets he unearths and the identity of Mrs. Hoyle's murderer shock everyone in the rural Gainesville, Missouri community.