One year as a ten-year-old spent at the house of the Weber family in Pittsburgh, happy even under the shadow of a willfully forgotten past... Jane Carlyle is brought by Sophie to the family home after the murder of her mother and disappearance, perhaps guilty, of her father. She is received into the bosom of the Weber menage, run by beautiful, red-haired Grandmother Weber, whose sons and daughters, and their sons and daughters, fill the house with laughter and a few tears. There is handsome, understanding Hugo, who brings his four children home to his mother because his wife Daisy won't let him be a newspaperman -- Mama finally retrieves their marriage through administering a Micky Finn; there is Ermanie, who comes home to have a baby, with her anxious husband in attendance; there are ""the boys"", Seymour and Sylvester; Charlotte and Elise, who can't marry until Sophie, their elder at thirty, does. Finally there is Sophie, who runs the Weber store but is shy of men, who shelters Jane and goes to jail as a suspect for murder rather than force Jane's sick father to prove his innocence until he is strong enough to stand trial. Into this happy tableau sweeps unsuspected menace in the form of a Mrs. Grenoble, who turns out to be the female impersonator who killed Jane's mother and tries to stab her too with a hatpin. All ends well, with the true heroine Sophie married to a musician, Jane returned to her father, Hugo to his Daisy, etc., in a novel whose charm is drawn from the essentially serene world of 1908.