When Isabel Anders ran away to New York as a teenager she thought she had seen the last of the strict, demanding great-aunt who raised her in the Florida panhandle. But fifteen years later she finds herself heading for Cape Cache in response to a cryptic note from the old woman's lawyer. Aunt Merriam has had an accident. Unfortunately, it seems that the whole town remembers the bad blood between Isabel and Merriam, and the welcome wagon consists of threatening notes slid under the door and deadly snakes slithering under her bed. But her one new friend in town, little Kimmey Dee, lets Isabel know that Merriam's fall may not have been an accident at all. As Isabel sorts through the conflicts of her childhood and her aunt's mysterious behavior, she finds herself caught in dangerous crosscurrents of greed and murder.