When Alex Beahzhi and Kay Roberts discover a vintage 1932 Packard Opera Coupe in an old garage behind their new home on Bradestone Island, they quickly find themselves in another puzzling mystery.
Edgar, Willie’s amber crow, tries to warn them, but their children pull back the dusty canvas from the old heap anyway. They are shocked to find a mummified corpse with its head thrown back, its jaw a rictus grin and rotted hands clutching the steering wheel of the Black Mariah.
Who’s in the car? Was it suicide or murder? Sheriff Ujima Washington wants to find out despite the interference of Alex’s visiting friend, the famous archaeologist, Dr. Roland Shakelton, who has brought his own trouble from his last dig. Kay and her island friends, Thommy Jay, Toady, Solange and Carla, along with local realtor and island expert, Rose Bracken, can’t help but get in the way.
The puzzle gets serious with the mysterious death of the librarian who was helping to restore the Black Mariah. Alex and Roland find themselves tied in the back seat to be carried to their deaths in the waters of Scoon Bay. Kay and Ujima fall into the clutches of a deadly psychopath. Will the amber feathered Edgar get help, or just watch it all and shake his head.