In 1929, an explosion at a dance hall in a Missouri town killed 42 people. Who was to blame? Mobsters from St. Louis? Embittered gypsies? The preacher who railed against the loose morals of the waltzing couples? Or could it have been a colossal accident? Alma Dunahew, whose scandalous younger sister was among the dead, believes she knows the answer - and that its roots lie in a dangerous love affair. But no one will listen to a woman from the wrong side of the tracks. Maid to a prominent citizen, wife of a hopeless alcoholic, her dogged pursuit of justice makes her an outcast and causes a long-standing rift with her own son. It is only decades later that her grandson listens to her account and unearths the sorry truth. With remarkable economy, Daniel Woodrell tells a richly layered story of passion, betrayal and vengeance and two families at opposite ends of the social scale connected down the generations by a festering secret. This is a stunning novel by a writer hailed by Roddy Doyle as 'one of the world's greatest novelists'.