Death came suddenly to eighty-four-year-old Sophie Comfort Noble when she took a nasty - and galling - tumble into the next world down the servant's stairs. Her legacy, however - the Waggs Neck Harbor Annual Literary Arts Symposium (ALAS) - lived on, if not exactly in the manner she envisioned. For nearly fifty years she had dedicated it to the cultural enrichment of the winter women: the upper-middle-class, upper-middle-aged ladies who lived in the town year round. But under her daughter Rhodie's guidance, ALAS was taking on a boldly feminist and strictly unexpurgated complexion. Her radical plans might have come to pass if the event's idle gossip hadn't turned into downright dirty rumor, and if the bad blood between the participants hadn't been spilled... Against her better judgement, Wyn Lewis had volunteered as host, driver, and keeper of one of the featured speakers, Keny Blue. A former resident of Waggs Neck Harbor, Ms. Blue had since expanded her horizons, exploring in her bestselling feminist romance novels - and her own life - a brave new world of sexual freedoms and proclivities. But her happy calling has led to an unhappy climax. Wyn finds Keny dead in her hotel suite - in bed, of course - wearing nothing but a wire garrote around her neck. Keny's history of sexual antics and notoriously poor social skills leaves Wyn with several murder suspects. Dickie French, the interior designer who moonlighted as Keny's ghostwriter, took exception to being abruptly cut off from that lucrative sideline. Peter Robalinski, Rhodie's hand-picked director of ALAS - and a seasoned "gentleman in waiting" - feared that Keny might expose the secret life they once shared. Even Keny's arch rival andfellow symposium speaker, feminist Sondra Mercy Confrit, was not above suspicion. All in all, Wyn would prefer to be at home, indulging her own fantasies with some take out Chinese, an old movie, and her boyfriend, Tommy Handwerk. But the murder investigation just won't go away.