On the last day of school fourteen-year-old Brit Dawson finds herself alone and homeless. Her addict mother has disappeared-again. Their apartment is padlocked; they’ve been evicted. Terrified of ending up in foster care, Brit runs through a storm to her favorite sanctuary, the local library and the one person she trusts, Miss Millie Thornton, the librarian.
Desperate and unsure what to do next, with no money and nowhere to live and not even the free school breakfasts she’s been getting since her mother disappeared, Brit offers to work for Miss Millie for room and board, but Miss Millie invites Brit to come and stay with her.
A strange house and an even stranger situation await her. Miss Millie lives in a once-elegant old mansion, now in disrepair. The ancient housekeeper doesn’t hide her dislike of Brit. And Brit never sees Miss Millie’s mysterious brother, who lives in the east wing.
One day Brit answers the phone to a caller who assumes he’s talking to Miss Millie-he tells her not to speak, just listen. And as Brit listens, she realizes that the caller is a blackmailer and that in Miss Millie’s past, she had been accused of murder.
Sure Miss Millie is innocent, Brit plots to stop the blackmail and find the real killer. But when her mother reappears and a strange man wants her to steal something from Miss Millie’s house, Brit’s attempts to protect the woman who has been so kind to her put her and Miss Millie in a kind of danger even the homeless Brit never imagined.