When Marta Kowalski is discovered beneath the Farmington River Bridge, the police write off her death as an unfortunate suicide. Marta had become depressed since the death of an old friend. Marta was a simple woman who cleaned houses, mostly for elderly professors, and faithfully attended Mass. Sometimes she went gambling in Atlantic City or at the Indian casinos. She had no enemies, let alone friends. Murder? There's no evidence of a crime.
Yet her niece Karen is convinced of foul play. She hires Amerasian Rick Van Lam, the only investigator she knows in this bedroom community. He had never really cared for Marta. Yes, she'd dusted his apartment a couple of times, but she was a little too nosy. And she'd fought with a local gardener, a full-blooded Vietnamese man.
Jimmy, his mentor and partner at nearby Hartford, Connecticut's Gaddy Associates, aces at insurance fraud, frowns on Rick taking another murder case. But aided by his sidekick Hank Nguyen and Hank's wise Buddhist grandmother, Rick begins asking questions and finds himself mired in affluent Farmington's parochial pettiness and scandal. Digging deeper, he unearths rivalries, jealousies, and viciousness to shame a Miss Marple village - and realizes to his amazement that Marta was no mere unassuming housekeeper. Any number of townsfolk had reason to shove her off that bridge - one of them mind-blowing.