When a man offers 1940s private investigator Maggie Sullivan twice her usual fee to look into a "possible" jewelry theft from his hotel safe, she’s skeptical — until a maid’s body tumbles out of a trash can and a jeweler known for high quality fakes is murdered.
Does a hotel guest who vanished without a trace hold a piece of the puzzle? Or does it have to do with the Polish count and his family fleeing the start of WW2 in Europe? Could the cops be right that it’s all a trick devised by her client?
More at ease in Dayton, Ohio’s, streets and alleyways than in the posh Hotel Canterbury, and chafing under the need to hide her true occupation, Maggie threads her way through an unfamiliar array of suspects: Celluloid luminaries in town for a hush-hush project; an international Lothario whose shady local past she unearths; the count’s embittered valet.
Meanwhile, preparations for a visit by FDR preoccupy the city’s police. The Irish cop who long has wooed Maggie suddenly departs for Chicago. Alone and bruised, Maggie faces adversaries whose motives stun her... and a killer who will stop at nothing.