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When every last one of the Ohippi hydro-electric power plants are destroyed by flood, Rhys Jardin is one of many who loses everything. But somehow Jardin’s longtime partner, finance magnate Solly Spaeth, manages to come out of it wealthier than before, thanks to a brilliant-if-underhanded move to sell off his shares before disaster struck. Spaeth has more than enough money to rebuild the plants, but why should he, with the law on his side?
The only problem is that Spaeth’s son Walter, an idealistic journalist, is in love with Jardin’s daughter. When he pleads for his father’s mercy, he finds himself disinherited from the will.
Walter enlists the help of Ellery Queen, a mystery author in town to try his hand at screenwriting for Hollywood, to secretly buy back the auctioned Jardin-family belongings on their behalf. But before Queen can walk away, Solly Spaeth turns up dead.
Now embroiled in a real-life mystery, Queen must figure out a way to weed through the suspects, all the while proving himself a player in Hollywood. Unfortunately for Queen, Spaeth’s extreme wealth can only be matched by the number of his enemies.