Barbara Ross depicts the fragile balance between success and failure of a small family-owned business.
After years in New York as a venture capitalist, Julia Snowden returns to Busman's Harbor, Maine, to save her family's struggling company. For years it was run by her father, but when he died, her mother turned the management over to Julia's brother-in-law Sonny, whose name is as far from his disposition as possible. Constantly butting heads with Sonny and warding off the bank's threat to call their loan, Julia lines up a wedding to be held on Morrow Island, the locale of their clambakes.
As the bride and bridal party are leaving the harbor to motor to the island, someone notices the best man missing. Tony, the groom, volunteers to stay behind and round him up while the others go to the island to prepare for the wedding. Already having wedding jitters, the bride seems even more upset by the missing best man.
When the party arrives on Morrow Island, they head towards Windsholme Mansion where the wedding will be held. As Julia throws open the door, the bride crumples to the floor crying out "Ray! Ray! Ray!" at the sight of the best man hanging from the grand staircase. Did Ray kill himself and why do it in such a visible manner where the bride would obviously see him? Was his suicide directed at her or is it murder disguised as suicide?
Julia sees her hoped for successful season flash before her eyes and shudders at the thought of losing the family business. With no hesitation, she decides to investigate.
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