Forty-year-old Japanese-American Valerie Sloan’s world has turned upside down. She’s lost her job after twenty years with a Philadelphia insurance conglomerate. Her father, a widower and retired professional violinist, has revealed the depth of his debt to her. Her side business, buying, selling, and repairing violins, is not bringing in enough money.
Then an old friend resurfaces with a stunning job offer: Come work with me as an insurance investigator. For her first case, Valerie has to track down a stolen guitar. She thinks the guitar’s owner may have committed fraud, but a Yakuza boss thinks she should honor her Japanese heritage and stop looking for the guitar - or suffer the consequences.
Reuben Cafferty, a successful dentist and a member of a one-hit-wonder band during the eighties, is under pressure. His soon-to-be-ex-wife has threatened to take him to court unless he agrees to settle their financial differences. Reuben’s plan to collect insurance on his 1958 Gibson Les Paul guitar has gone awry and that pesky investigator Sloan is asking too many questions. He needs the guitar back to sell it and settle with his wife, but the criminal he hired to steal it from him in the first place has gone missing, along with the guitar.
Who has the guitar? What does the guitar have to do with Valerie’s family, including her long-dead mother? Can Valerie retrieve the guitar, solve the case, and stay alive?