"I'LL BE ON YOUR PATIO AT FOUR O'CLOCK. IF YOU AREN'T THERE, I'LL UNDERSTAND...." This is the gist of the mysterious plea for help that Conan Flagg finds lying on the counter of his Holliday Beach Book Shop. The writer is beautiful Isadora Canfield, a concert pianist and daughter of the late Oregon Senator John Canfield, in whose will she would become a millionairess. Isadora wants Conan to find out who is keeping her under twenty-four-hour surveillance, but she becomes strangely quiet when asked for details of her father's death and of how she had spent the weeks following. In fact she is disinclined to talk about the family at all--not her blind stepmother or her irrepressible stepbrother or her sadly altered stepsister, Jenny, who had once been a promising artist. Conan soon realizes that he and his gifted client are sitting on dynamite. He thinks he knows who has the matches, but he can't be sure. And proving it, is dangerous work, even for a pro like Flagg.