Who killed Uncle Bill? Alafair Tucker is desperate to find out. One August evening in 1914, a bushwhacker ended a pleasant outing by blowing a hole in Bill McBride, kidnapping and ravaging Bill's fiancée, and wounding Alafair's daughter Mary. Does Mary know who did the low-down deed? If she does, the bullet that grazed her knocked that information right out of her head. All she remembers is that it has something to do with the Fourth of July.
Or is there more? The answer seems to be floating piece by tiny piece to the surface of Mary's consciousness. Several malicious acts testify to the fact that Bill's killer is still around and attempting to cover his tracks. The question is, can Mary remember before the murderer manages to eliminate everyone who could identify him?
The law is hot on the bushwhacker's trail. Alafair thinks there is little she can do to help the sheriff, but that will never stop her from trying. She has no qualms about driving Mary to distraction with her persistent snooping and constant hovering. If there's a chance she can protect Mary from further harm or help her remember, she'll do anything she can. Even confront a vicious killer.