Caution: Contains Spoilers
Virginia Carpolotti stands anxiously humming in her suburban home, next to a grand piano. She’s in her sixties, widowed, and as she starts to sing, we learn of her late husband Ed. The two met when they were young, sneaking away to rendezvous, going to eat at the Green Mill Luncheonette. They married, had a daughter, and Ed ran a construction business until his death last Christmas. Even though “funny things” have started happening since the funeral, Virginia lovingly remembers the time they shared in decades past.
Those “funny things,” however, hang ominously in the air: shady characters from Ed’s business life show up at the funeral. Virginia meets with her attorney: Ed, he reveals, borrowed a huge sum of money near the end of his life. And since Virginia has now signed on as President of his company, she is responsible for all the debt.
Phone messages from collectors start flooding in: first from Dino, owner of a truck company Ed contracted with. They talk it through over coffee at the Luncheonette: Dino had lent Ed half a million dollars, at 50% interest. Ed’s brother Frank is next: he had lent Ed three hundred thousand. Hurt, desperate, and without any cash or savings, Virginia doesn’t know what to do. Frank has a suggestion: sell their house.
Virginia can’t accept it. The house, which she and her husband called Bray Barton, is her pride and safe haven, and holds beloved memories of her life with Ed.
But her finances are doomed to collapse, her choices fewer and fewer. Then, already backed against the wall, she receives a mysterious, unsigned note demaning one million dollars with the threat: “I have a list,” it says, “of 13 scandalous things about Ed Carpolotti.”
She waits and waits in dread for another note from the mysterious sender. Even the collectors now forgive her debts, sympathetic about the looming catastrophe. But a month goes by and no other note arrives.
Unsure of what’s ahead for her, Virginia dissolves the company, admitting that all she’d really want from the years to come is one more spring with her husband. Then, as she prepares for a trip to visit her grandchildren, Ed’s secretary delivers another unmarked envelope, just like the one from a month earlier. Nervously, she opens it and reads…