Several days after her biologist sister Mary Clare, who worked at Sacred Heart Hospital and lived at Sacre Coeur convent, is fished out of the Potomac River, Nicole Ryan finds that somebody (allegedly her late sister) has switched Mary's plane reservations to a Pasadena convention to Nikki's name. So Nikki, put off by Mary's cold protector Sister Paula and desperate to escape her grief, flies out to L.A.--and learns from her old mentor, Prof. Henry Dirstoff, and Mary's colleague Terry Asher that Mary's work on Immu-Phor, a drug that could prevent all immunological diseases (and maybe reduce its users to vegetables), is being grabbed by Sacred Heart and its powerful silent partner, Century Pharmaceutical. Suspecting that Mary's death was no accident, Nikki swears revenge--but, blinded by continuing childhood traumas, can't decide whom to trust in her search for allies. A step backwards after the offbeat suspenser The Keeper (1992). But die-hard Mary Higgins Clarkites looking for a fix will find family secrets, sister love, earnest lectures about mythology, and an innocent heroine who grows a tough skin--all with a PG rating.