Thomas Martindale, a journalism professor, is enjoying the first day of his summer vacation on the Oregon coast. He has brought with him the active curiosity and investigative abilities that often get him into situations most people would ignore. When he is invited to brunch at the home of an old friend, she confides that someone may be trying to kill her. The next night, that fear is realized when Tom finds her body at a nearby lighthouse. Tom immediately sets out to find her killer, using clues from a manuscript his friend gave him for review. Have the incidents during World War II, described in the manuscript, caused her death? Did they reveal secrets about someone?