A woman must uncover the secrets of the past before she can face her future.
In 1940, Edit Palmay left Hungary for China to meet her missionary husband. After World War II, they made their way to Chicago, where they raised their family, including their youngest child, Ildiko. Born in America, Ildiko never really listened when her mother told her tales of the old country or recounted what happened when Edit went back to Budapest to try to discover what became of her vanished sister, who may have been either a hero of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution or a spy for the hated secret police force AVO. Not until Edit is killed when she falls, or is pushed, under a train does Ildiko resolve to discover what really happened. Her romance with a married man has ended badly, but her mother’s Hungarian friends introduce her to Gustav, a talented photographer who was involved in the revolution before escaping from Hungary. It’s Gustav who points out some unsettling features in an uncompleted triptych that Edit made for her in needlework, which apparently tells the story of one of Ildiko’s favorite fairy tales. Traveling to Hungary to visit her relatives and retrace her mother’s footsteps, Ildiko finds the country still in the grip of communism and her relatives afraid of revealing too much. Gustav has also made the trip to see his dying uncle, whose past is interwoven with Edit’s. In a shocking turn, Ildiko discovers that her mother’s killer had a motive that goes all the way back to the revolution.
Liesche (Hollywood Buzz, 2009, etc.), the daughter of Hungarian refugees, cleverly weaves her family’s history into a fine mystery that is an even finer tale about finding one's roots.