Jessica Leeds, wife of a prestigious Florida landowner, is brutally raped. Three Vietnamese immigrants are arrested and charged with the crime. After the ensuing trial results in their acquittal, Jessica's husband Stephen vows vengeance. Later, the three immigrants are found murdered, and of course the circumstances point to Stephen. Jessica turns to Matthew Hope, Florida lawyer and protagonist of Ed McBain's nursery rhyme and fairy tale series of mysteries. Hope takes the case - and discovers a situation far more complex and explosive than he, or his client, imagined.