Seattle shamus Leo Waterman is summoned to unaccustomed heights--the very special 16th floor of the Olympic Star Hotel--to hear Sir Geoffrey Miles, the Guru of Gourmands, tell him that the well-heeled and tasteful don't behave any better than the homeless Irregulars Leo employs as operatives. The annual convention of Lc Cuisine International, with Sir Geoffrey as keynoter, is being held hostage to a dispute between Del Fuego's FeedLot and Abby's Angus about which of them really deserves the coveted top rating of Mason Reese's Golden Fork Club. Jack Del Fuego has heated up his rivalry with steakhouse competitor Abigail Meyerson by underhandedly purchasing Bunky, the state-of-the-art steer bred by Abigail's daughter Bric, with the intention now of barbecuing Bunky in downtown Seattle. Distraught Sir Geoffrey wants to hire Leo to find the steer, dead or alive, and keep bad publicity from Sir Geoffrey's doorstep; Mason Reese, holed up in his hotel room, is afraid (with reason) that if he opens his door he'll be killed; and the extensive entourages of the archrivals are bickering because that's what they're comfortable with. Nero Wolfe fans will recognize the basic plot of Some Buried Caesar, supplemented with bits from Too Many Cooks and a host of other sly in-jokes, though the climax of Ford's unexpectedly lighthearted fourth case (The Bum's Rush, 1997, etc.) depends on one borrowing too many.