After Becky's dad loses his job as an architectural draftsman, the family flees New York City for the seaside sanctity of a New England coastal town. But what with a heavy-breathing anonymous phone caller, a sniper taking pot shots at a passing train, and an arsonist-at-large setting fires all over the place, Quoneck makes the Big Apple look practically Elysian. To make matters worse, the newcomers are given a freezing cold shoulder by the natives: Becky's sole friend is doddering Euphemia Hendrix, the reclusive mistress of Mermaid House, and predictably the prime suspect in the arson case. Just as predictably, plucky Becky solves the mystery--a silly muddle involving an underworld kingpin who's yearning for a little Yankee respectability. The upshot is that Miss Hendrix keeps her house and good name; Becky becomes a local heroine; and her parents are placed on all the preferred guest lists of the local gentry. The anonymous phone caller, P.S., turns out to be a confused child but that's just one example of the type of feeble fictional smoke screen Crayder throws up.