Kit Deleeuw is a private detective in Rochambeau, New Jersey, an affluent suburb. Deleeuw used to work on Wall Street but was fired in a scandal which almost sent him to prison.
Two kids from the local high school are found dead on the Brown estate. It looks to the police like a murder-suicide. The Brown estate is sought by developers who will pay $60,000,000 just for the land. The two dead students are Ken Dale and Carol Lombardi. Friends of Ken approach Kit for help in clearing Ken's name. They do not think he is capable of committing the crime.
A murder which occurred over one hundred years ago bears a striking similarity to the current mystery. Blackhead Gowdy, a descendent of the man executed for that killing, is living in a local nursing home.He holds a life-long grudge against Benchley Carrolton whose family benefited from the old tragedy. Both become suspects along with the town bully, Jamie Hart, and the students' teacher, Richard Handley. Kit meets a lot of resistance from the local police chief but receives much needed help from Benchley and Luis Hebron, a former lawyer in Cuba who now owns a hamburger stand near Kit's office.
This report prepared by Peter Kenney