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When Matt Carlsberg is found dead in a cottage on Connor Beach, the police must find not only who killed him, but why.
The investigation is conducted by Harry Chervenic, a detective with too much experience, and his sometime partner Mickie Wilder, young and ambitious. They find Matt's older brother, who still remembers an old grudge, and his sister, whose lover is the family attorney. They learn of the murder, years earlier, of the victim's father, and of Matt's leaving home shortly after. A cab driver gives them clues to Matt's mysterious financial dealings, and a former lover tells of his past.
Complicating the case is a note left for Matt's nephew and nieces inviting them to join in a sort of treasure hunt, the prize unspecified
While investigating the murder, Harry is forced to deal with ghosts from his own past.
The hunt for the killer, the hunt for the prize, and the twenty-two year old murder all draw together to lead to the final climax.