One hundred and fifty years ago, a guest staying in the Lydell family house was murdered in the "stranger room", a guest room cutoff from the main house. The windowless room's single door was closed and locked from the inside. The murder, never solved, fell into the background of the Civil War.
But the town is shocked and mystified when, a century and a half later, another guest is murdered in the same stranger room, with the door again locked from the inside.
Sheriff Ike Schwartz and FBI agent Karl Hedrick are dispatched to resolve the mystery of the strangely identical murders, but they meet with obstacles and resistance at every turn.