When Louise Ralston wanders into Marcy's shop, The Seven-Year Stitch, shows Marcy a century old sampler, asks for her help finding ivy and collapses and subsequently dies.
Since Marcy gave the older woman a cup of tea, and since the drug that killed Mrs. Ralston is found in Marcy's guest room night stand in a vial with someone's name on it that Marcy has never heard (her mother left the vial there on her last visit), Marcy is considered a suspect. Marcy considers the sampler to be a vital clue, especially when she realizes that the original verse has been removed and replaced with a verse, about ivy, from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Intrigued by the piece, the woman's last request, and in the interest of self-preservation, Marcy begins to do a little detective work, of the genealogical nature, on her own. She learns that Mrs. Ralston was hiding a very big secret. Someone either recently learned of the secret or knew and recently became afraid of its coming to light and that someone is afraid Marcy will uncover it before it can be hidden forever.