Few men would respond to an attempt on their life with an invitation to the killer to try again. But arrogant, daredevil media magnate Chase Prescott has done just that, while issuing an urgent summons to the one person he trusts to point out the would-be murderer...his long-ago colleague and lover, retired newshound Henrietta O'Dwyer Collins. After a lifetime covering disasters and revolutions, murders and public scandals, Henrie O is more than content to confine her energy to writing mysteries. And her feelings of unease only increase when she arrives at Chase's opulent house on his private island off the South Carolina coast - an island that has more than earned its name. It seems that Chase, with his usual high-octane charm and confidence, never called the police when cyanide-laced candy nearly killed him in his New York home.
Instead, he has assembled on Dead Man's Island everyone who could have planted the lethal dose: Miranda, his lovely unstable young wife; Haskell Lee, his sullen stepson whose dreams Chase will not finance; his son Roger Prescott, afire for Prescott Communications to cover environmental and social issues instead of capitalist concerns; and his platinum-haired ex-sister-in-law Valerie St. Vincent, a beauty desperate for the money to stage her Broadway comeback. And then there is Chase's staff - from his Type A heir apparent to his toady of a secretary - who have their own secret ambitions. When Chase barely escapes a murderous spray of bullets on a secluded sandy beach, Henrie O unearths a will, an insurance policy, and a scurrilous unauthorized biography that could give any one of Chase's intimate circle an even graver motive for murder. But which one? Now Henrie O's sharp writer's mind must work overtime, as a killer hurricane sweeps up from Cuba to maroon the lot of them in this vacation hell...where the trappings of luxury are soon put to deadly use, and where the secrets of the past threaten to engulf them all.