Could there be murder on the menu at Andre's in San Francisco? If so, it had better be served up quickly, because Palmer Blake's trendy, upscale restaurant is rapidly going belly up.
On top of that, a lady friend of his has vanished, and he is compelled to hire the services of Wilmot Biggs, an abundant, gruff, gourmand investigator who frequents Andre's.
The pot au feu thickens when Palmer gets involved in the case himself, from North Beach to Acapulco. His amateur sleuthing results in the anonymous offer of a great sum of moneyenough to save his restaurantto call off the search. As one might guess, this offer also includes the promise of something extremely unpleasant if the money is refused.
But with Palmer, there's an emotional reason to continue. The missing woman, Sara Longwith, is a breath of Venus, desired by most men who meet her. Palmer has never known her intimately, but her disappearance has triggered a sort of melancholy longing that grows on him as the quest continues.
A few corpses later, however, Palmer is even more tempted to take the money and walk.
As for Biggs, the answer is simple: more garlic and a pinch of oregano.