Rockland, Maine is a small city where Helen Esterhazy Pendergast and her brother Judson Esterhazy lived as children. 

Vincent D'Agosta went there, posing as a private investogator. to find out more about the family. He had little luck around town, but one patron of a tavern called the Salty Dog told him, over beers, that the family kept a crazy aunt locked in the attic, who killed and ate stray dogs. Another told him that the wife tried to poison the husband after he beat her with an electrical cord, and yet another that the father lost the family fortune in the stock market and they disappeared to avoid their debtors. Someone else remembered that the father frequently traveled to South America.

The rumors about the family were founded in truth. The Esterhazys were Nazi sympathizers who fled Europe after World War II. They spent time in Brazil, and Helen and Judson were conceived of a neo-Nazi genetic program intended to breed superhumans. Each had an identical twin who was profoundly retarded. Helen's twin sister Emma was for a time kept in the family attic, and later confined to a nursing home under a false name.

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