A horrified and incredulous Jack Dana digs into the facts surrounding the death of his uncle Harry of an apparent suicide. Aided by Harry’s most trusted associate, Kerry Black, and by his college friend Scott Prentice, who now works for the CIA, Jack discovers that Harry had pierced the secret of his most important client, Abner Brown, a right-wing multibillionaire notorious for backing extremist causes. The stakes and dangers are huge. Harry’s death now seems anything but a suicide.
In the unforgiving class system of the 1950s, Lucy de Bourgh, daughter of one of Rhode Island's first families and beneficiary of an ample trust fund, was married to Thomas Snow, son of a Newport garage owner and his bookkeeper wife. Decades later, a chance meeting brings Lucy together with Philip, our narrator. They'd known each other earlier, and he remembers her as a ravishing, funny, ready-for-anything hellion. He also remembers Thomas, killed in a freak accident years after his and Lucy's divorce, and is shocked to hear Lucy refer to Thomas insistently as "that monster." How is he to reconcile that unexpected and overflowing reservoir of bitterness and resentments with his own memories?