Introducing Seattle shamus John Denson, a fairly attractive narrator in the cute/put-upon mold--and he's certainly put-upon when stunning Pamela Yew persuades him to accompany her to his hometown (she'll pose as his fiancÃ‰e) so that together they can track down a San Francisco pimp who murdered prostitutes. But once the twosome has spent a little (strictly platonic) time in the small town, John realizes that Pamela's story was phony: she really is after some priceless unidentified object connected with a brutish fellow in town named Jerry Hammond. And then John and Pamela make an implausible bet--his stake is his $50,000 Eakins oil painting, hers is her sexual pliability--about whether John can beat Pamela to this mysterious treasure. And so it goes, back in Seattle, as the two both follow dangerous Jerry and his kinky twin girlfriends (John sleeps with one) while being followed themselves by FBI men and such. A messy, gawky, imitation-Maltese Falcon plot--with murdered strippers and harbor chases and personal revelations (Pamela's abused past) at the finale. But breezy John and the Seattle milieu both have some potential--so if Hoyt can tighten up his story-lines and control the cuteness, there might be agreeable cases ahead.