Victoria Trumbull has lived most of her 92 years on the Island. Like other Islanders, she knows the sound of the sea in calm and stormy weather - and she knows the sounds that do not belong. One evening while Victoria waits on the dock for her granddaughter to return with the harbormaster, she hears a chilling scream followed by a splash and the sound of tires skidding on sand. She investigates and discovers a mutilated body floating on the outgoing tide.
With her granddaughter, Domingo the harbormaster, a swarm of Island characters, and a few mysterious visitors, Victoria manages to get in a good bit of detective work. However, she isn't able to prevent further homicide. As the tension mounts, Victoria concocts a scheme to reveal the killer and still has time to prepare her traditional Saturday night supper of Boston baked beans.
While the summer visitors bask on the beach, sail Island waters, shop in the Island stores, the reader is treated to the magic, the history and the texture of "the Vineyard" with its year-round characters real enough to include the reader in their conversations.