The Lawrenceton Public Library is holding a Renaissance gala fundraiser, they having acquired on loan a few pieces from the Seattle Museum of History for display, including a crown worn by Elizabeth I. One of the museum's board members, James Reading, wants this to be the first of many such loans to organizations to provide greater exposure to their Tudor exhibit, while its Assistant Director Kelly Stevens was against the loan in believing it too great a risk. In addition to the museum's own security services, Lawrenceton PD led by Chief Lynn Smith and her husband Detective Arthur Smith will oversee security as it relates to the venue. Within minutes of the last check on the pieces to their scheduled unveiling at the gala's formal presentation, the crown goes missing. Assistant Librarian Aurora Teagarden - Ro to her friends - her Criminology Professor boyfriend Nick Miller, and their fellow members of the Real Murders Discussion Club, especially those also at the gala, can't help but investigate the theft, much to Lynn's chagrin, she who has always resented Ro inserting herself into police investigations. The investigation becomes more in the Discussion Club's wheelhouse when the chief suspect is found murdered, the assumption that the victim, while the one who carried out the theft, was just the front person for the murderer. Someone who may be able to provide some valuable background to Ro and Nick is Nick's colleague Eric Hanson, a Professor of Western Civilization who Nick and Ro tried to set up with Ro's best friend and fellow Club member, reporter Sally Allison. Sally, in turn, felt no sparks with academic Eric until he showed some interest in this case himself. Among the suspects are: milquetoast Howard Kane, a regular library patron who Ro learns is an ex-con, his time served for theft; Seattle based importer/exporter Miya Quan, who refused to be searched after the theft, threatening legal action if she was; and Kelly Stevens herself, she who has made no bones about wanting her boss' job, she being able to point to the theft and her objection to the loan as reasons for her to take over. Through it all, Nick tries to outwit super-sleuth Ro by finding a time she would least expect to ask her to marry him, the investigation which may throw a wrench into the proceedings in more ways than one.