Lew Archer was out for a little target practice. Just a deserted old estate in the canyon where Archer could get away from the Hollywood rat race and sharpen his shooting skills down in the meadow. But he found two things there he wasn't expecting. One was a crazy old vagrant that had set up in dilapidated gatehouse. And two was a glittering red object on the ground. It was a red enameled fingernail that just happens to still be attached to its owner. A young blonde who was strangled, buried and very much dead. Now Lew Archer's chance to get away from it all, just got away. And the wild old vagrant has decided to runaway too!