It’s May, 1935, and the country remains in the throes of the Great Depression. In the seaside enclave of Carmel-By-The-Sea, the villagers are embroiled in another type of struggle. Many residents wish to censor and prevent an allegedly obscene novel from being circulated in the public library. Along with the town’s bohemian writers and artists, Nora Finnegan, a free-lance reporter for The Carmel Pine Cone, finds herself on the side of free expression. Matters take an ominous turn when an outspoken activist is found brutally murdered. Even more suspicious, the Theatre of the Golden Bough, the site where several controversial plays have been staged, is set ablaze. Arson is suspected. Nora wonders if the fire might have been set by a vindictive person intent on silencing the theater’s owner, and even the town.