Husband and wife Tom and Maggie Cabbott, from Vancouver, are starting life anew in the small town of Pelorus, New Zealand, where they are trying to open a salmon fishery with some seed money in the realm of a few million dollars from Tom's extremely wealthy and powerful industrialist father, Frank Cabbott. While the fishery is an unexpected boon to economically depressed Pelorus, Tom and Maggie had and have the primary goal to get away from the Cabbotts and the control they and their money have been able to wield in negatively affecting their lives, with Tom having felt like the neglected and dismissed member of the family. Things for Tom and Maggie change when out kayaking in the sound on his own one morning, Tom goes missing. Pelorus Chief of Police Jack McGregor, whose family comprises a good proportion of the several hundred total residents of Pelorus, leads both the investigation of Tom's disappearance and the search for what most eventually assume is his dead body. With this news making its way back to Vancouver, Frank or his heir apparent other son Nate Cabbott do not go to Pelorus, but rather send their prickly but effective forensic accountant Esther Ishikawa to Pelorus, not to discover what happened to Tom, but rather to discover what other activities Tom and Maggie may have been involved in that negatively affected the Cabbott organization.