Former New York detective Robert Goren sat next to the fire in the den of the cabin after a day of skiing. It wasn't a completely old-fashioned log cabin. It was a log cabin, but it was fairly modern on the inside.

It was the winter after he'd been released from the Major Case Squad, by his own partner, no less. It had been a shock at first, but he knew he'd pull through. He'd experienced hardship before.

Before he tried to find work again, if he ever could, he decided to take a little vacation. He wasn't sure why he decided on skiing. He was even less sure why he chose the Bryce Mountain Resort in Virginia. He didn't even know that there were ski resorts in Virginia. He guessed it seemed like a good idea when his friends from Long Island suggested that he rent out the cabin that the woman's family owned.

He was getting ready to doze off when the phone rang. He crossed through the open kitchen/dining room attached to the den and answered the phone.

He about dropped it when a familiar voice started speaking.

"Hello, Bobby," she said. "I hear you're no longer working with the police. I can't believe it. I feel so sorry for you."

Yeah, I bet you do, he thought.

"Anyway, I thought I would call and say hello. I'll be at the little café at the bottom of the slopes later this evening if you want to meet me there so you can share your feelings about this tragic incident."

The line went dead.