John Riley's Daughter opens in a small South Carolina town in the early 1970s with the disappearance of Memphis Riley's 29-year-old mentally handicapped aunt, Clover. Memphis and Clover have never gotten along, which is just one of the things Memphis's grandmother will never forgive her for. Six years ago Memphis's folksinging father, John Riley, dropped her off at her grandmother's house "temporarily" after her mother died; he hasn't been back since. Now Memphis's life is a constant round of domestic battles and uneasy truces. And she can't rely on her mother, Rosie, who no longer appears in her daughter's dreams. After Clover disappears, Memphis finds herself on the defensive yet again, and even her grandmother suspects that Memphis may have harmed Clover. In this powerful story told in the first person and set over the course of three sweltering July days, Memphis must come to terms with her life, her attitudes, and her options.