The murder of Quin and Mike's old friend, Lou Hernando, takes them to the mysterious island of Tango Key. The primary suspect is Hernando's 17-year-old sidekick, Ross Blade, a refuge from a troubled family who found as real home with Lou in the cliffside house, a repository of secrets from a time when pirates roamed the island. Every major event in the old house is accompanied by unexpected rustlings and the faint scent of jasmine.
Quin and Mike discover that Lou left behind a trail of heartbroken women. But the object of his erotic obsessions was a woman whose image adorns the main room of the house: Luz, the mistress of the bones, a former slave who had been brought to Tango Key from Cuba. Only by digging into this woman's history can the identity of Lou's killer be found.