Lily Brewster and her brother, Robert, were high-society people in New York until the crash of 1929 destroyed their father. (He committed suicide.) They're living in a run-down tenement apartment and working regular jobs when they see an ad asking them to get in touch with a lawyer, Mr. Prinney. Prinney is the lawyer for their great-uncle Horatio Brewster, who died in a boating "accident".
They inherited his Honeysuckle Cottage (they renamed it Grace and Favor Cottage), really a fancy mansion, with some terms: They are required to live at Grace and Favor for 10 years (without being away from it more than 2 months each year) and have to work to get their own money for clothes and such. Household expenses, food, fuel, and such, were seen to by Prinney.
Lily and Robert think that Uncle Horatio was actually murdered and wanted to find his killer. Then, a no-good local river rat, Billy Smith, was found dead in their kitchen, stabbed or strangled with Lily's scarf found around his neck. Lily and Robert found out beforehand that Billy claimed to have known something about the murder of Uncle Horatio, and so his murder was tied in with Uncle Horatio's. Since Billy's murder happened in Grace and Favor and Lily found him, Lily and Robert became more motivated to find the killer and clear any doubts about themselves.
This report prepared by Ann