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The body of the Masters rules committee chairman is found floating in the pond in front of the 12th green on the morning that Sam Skarda arrives at Augusta National Golf Club to play in his first Masters. Skarda, a 37-year-old police detective on medical leave from the Minneapolis police department, is an accomplished amateur golfer who won the U.S. Publinx and an invitation to play in the Masters while rehabbing a shooting injury suffered on the job.
Evidence left at the crime scene suggests the murder might have been tied to the ongoing protest by a women's group that has been demanding that the club admit women members. Then a crusading New York Times columnist is murdered on the grounds of the club two days later. Local police suspect the murders might have been committed by a member and begin pressuring the new Augusta National president for access to the club's membership information.
The club chairman asks Skarda for help finding the killer before the police thoroughly invade Augusta National's legendary privacy. Skarda looks for answers from members, veteran journalists, longtime caddies and ex-employees who may know why someone is determined to bring this year's Masters to a halt.
He also falls for Caroline Rockingham, the soon-to-be ex-wife of one of the pre-tournament favorites, a former college golf teammate of Skarda's. Sam and Caroline themselves become targets as the murders continue and pressure to cancel the tournament builds. Meanwhile, the killer methodically prepares for a spectacular and deadly Sunday climax.
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