In 1922, on his private island off the coast of Florida, on a calm, lovely evening, Senator Stephen Huntington walked out on the terrace for an after-dinner cigar, and was never seen again. Local superstition has it that he was devoured by the strangler fig, a tropical vine that spreads itself onto other plants and kills again and again, slaying relentlessly and without compunction anything that stands in the path of its growth.
Seven years later, Bolivar Brown accepts an invitation to vacation on the island with Huntington’s family and some of the Senator’s former friends. When a hurricane batters the island, clean-up crews soon find the dead strangler fig vine wrapped around a body dressed in the Senator’s clothes. That evening another victim is strangled. Bolivar Brown is compelled to discover the truth buried beneath the passions and ambitions of the Senator's former friends before another falls victim to the strangler fig.