Emma Passant, a sometime magician in San Francisco, ekes out her infrequent show dates with part-time jobs. Reared from infancy by loving grandfather Jacques, she's devastated when he's shot to death in an apparent mugging. Fulfilling his request, Emma boards a ferry and, after approaching a stranger for help, drops her grandfather's ashes into the bay. The stranger introduces himself as Henri-Pierre Caraignac, an antiques dealer from New York. A few days later, police detective Poteet informs Emma that Caraignac has been shot in his hotel room, the bullets matching those that killed her grandfather, her name and address scrawled on a candy wrapper found in the victim's wallet. Further unsettled by the theft from her apartment of an old model ship cherished by Jacques, Emma is determined to find the connection and the killer. After learning of a sizeable inheritance during a visit to her grandfather's elderly friend and lawyer Charlemagne Moussey, she embarks on a journey that takes her to the Caribbean island of San Marcos, to New York City, and to France, achieving her goal and at last running to ground images that had haunted her from childhood. An overelaborate but gripping plot, a sometimes exasperating but admirable heroine, and a penetrating fix on Caribbean island life: a solid follow-up to the author's debut, The Girl with the Phony Name (1992).