In the town of Lake Wachannabee, Ontario, lies the Winter Garden, home to matron Giggy Andrewes and her brood: her strung-out nephew Jem Waferly, his friend Cora, Chappy the whippet, two peacocks, and Jem's lover Rob, who lies convalescing after having had most of his flesh stripped away. A mystery? Well, yes, it would be if only the characters weren't so easily distracted by the noir-ishly handsome chief inspector, the seductive female veterinarian and the dashing anthropology professor studying the Winter Garden's gorge. The Winter Gardeners spend a summer of sultry afternoons nursing Rob, languidly drinking cocktails and trying to picture Nude Descending Staircase in their supposedly Cubist garden. Soon, however, they find themselves in a court room, where their family's values are on trial in a case reminiscent of that of Oscar Wilde.