Merilee Graf is still haunted by the terrible events of sixteen years ago, when a vivacious fifth-grade eleven-year-old "gypsy-looking" classmate of hers was abducted from a park in Mt. Olive, New York -- a disappearance that has never been explained.
Now Merilee is returning home to keep a bedside vigil for her dying father, a prosperous importer of exotic goods and the former popular mayor of a small town on the Chautauqua River. But the troubled, dutiful daughter is about to find herself an "heiress" in more ways than one, drawn by dread and fascination to two very different men from her Mt. Olive youth: the enigmatic older brother of the classmate who vanished without a trace and Merilee's own seductive "Uncle Jedah," executor of her father's estate. And as past and present mysteries chillingly converge, what will ultimately be revealed could prove too painful and shocking for Merilee to handle -- unless she can find the sudden act of reckless courage to free herself forever from the dangerous, suffocating obsessions of the past.