Tempe Crabtree is the resident deputy of Bear Creek, a small mountain community in the southern Sierra. Her continuing interest in the spiritual side of her heritage often causes unrest in her marriage to her minister husband. In Calling the Dead, Deputy Tempe Crabtree investigates a murder that looks like death from natural causes, and a suicide that looks like murder. Putting her job on the line, she investigates the murder on her own time and without permission from her superiors. Jeopardizing her marriage, she uses Native American ways to call back the dead to learn the truth about the suicide.