Sixteen years ago, a vivacious fifth-grade classmate of Merilee Graf was abducted from a park in Mt. Olive, New York. Haunted by the memory of the eleven-year-old 'gypsy-looking' girl whose disappearance has never been explained, Merilee returns home to keep a vigil at the bedside of her dying father, a prosperous importer of exotic goods and a former, popular mayor of the upstate New York town on the Chautauqua River. After Mr. Graf's death, Merilee finds herself an 'heiress' in more ways than one as she becomes involved, with both dread and fascination, with two very different men from her Mt. Olive past - the elusive older brother of her missing classmate and her own seductive 'Uncle Jedah,' executor of her father's estate. Past and present mysteries converge in a revelation too painful, and too shocking, for Merilee to accept, and in a sudden act of reckless courage she frees herself of the terrifying obsessions of the past.