While New York City sizzles beneath a blanket of early summer humidity, the Karp family is happily taking refuge in their renovated farmhouse on Long Island's north shore. Karp's battles against the City's corrupt politicians are never-ending. His wife, Marlene, is training guard dogs on their picturesque acreage; Lucy is enjoying her summer break from Boston College and playing the part of the dutiful daughter, assisting with the running of the business and tending to her rambunctious twin brothers. The tide quickly changes, however, when Marlene befriends her beachside neighbor, Rose Wickham-Heeney, a northeastern aristocrat turned wife of West Virginia coal mine union leader Ralph ³Red² Heeney. Soon after the fun-filled weeks of family barbecues and lazy afternoons with the Heeneys, the Karps discover that Rose, Red, and their daughter, Lizzie, have been brutally murdered back home in McCullensburg.