Jane Merrick is a wealthy, elderly, difficult invalid woman who is preparing for her approaching death.
In her youth, she inherited her money and estate from her fiancé, Thomas Bradley, who died before their wedding took place.
With no children of her own, she calls for her three teenage nieces to visit her, so she can decide who will inherit her estate.
They are Louise Merrick, Elizabeth De Graf, and Patsy Doyle, children of Jane’s younger brother and sisters. Each of the three cousins is a different type.
The nieces meet each other for the first time at Jane's mansion, Elmhurst, not expecting to find another.
They are informed that the estate will go to whomever Jane likes best. Louise and Beth become enemies for a time being, which makes Jane gravitate toward Patsy, who reminds her of herself.
Jane was given the mansion as the dying wish of her fiance, on the provision that she care for his family, which consists of a 16-year-old nephew, Kenneth Forbes. Jane finds Kenneth contemptibly stupid, since he is an artist who is afraid of girls.
Not only that, but Jane's brother John, who supposedly made money canning in the Pacific Northwest, comes back in tattered clothing and a filthy white tie, and she expects he has come to drain her as well, since none of the family ever did like her.
Out of the three nieces, whom will Aunt Jane like best? Whom will she leave her estate to?
There are many surprises, twists and turns. Find out for yourself.
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