For Judge Knott, the case before her seems to be an ordinary misdemeanor -- except that the personal property that's been destroyed is an inflatable carnival ride. When the carnival comes to her own town a few weeks later, Deborah soon discovers there's nothing ordinary about this rag-tag collection of rides and games. Why does the ride owner's charm bracelet awaken half-forgotten memories? And what is her connection to Deborah's own family? When one of the concessionaires is found dead, his mouth stuffed with quarters from his game of chance, Deborah soon learns that he was also chancing a little blackmail on the side -- blackmail that may threaten one of her brothers. In carnie lingo, "A fast dime is better than a slow dollar." Torn between judicial ethics and family love, Deborah must decide who gets which before more lives are ruined and the carnival moves on.