Edgar Wheeler was a successful businessman who was despised by everyone who knew him. He abused his wife, bullied his children, and cheated his business associates. And despite his involvement in at least three suspicious deaths, he avoided prosecution as he manipulated his way into a small fortune. When Wheeler was bludgeoned to death at the SeaVista Inn on Gates Island, California, Healy and Inspector Tony Montgomery pursued the investigation, gathering information about the victim and suspects, and through flashbacks it became clear that everyone had a powerful motive. Wheeler's wife, his lawyer, his daughter, the innkeeper, and even the maid were serious suspects. A second lawyer became the prime suspect, but she was also murdered. Healy and Montgomery realized that the Golden Octagon, a stolen Chinese antiquity, was integral to the murders and the investigation. Then as they closed in on the killer, there was a third murder. Healy eliminated all the false leads and ultimately illuminated the trail of clues that led to the killer.