Nightclub comic Barney Crook needs his son Paul's help: When a friend died and left him his business, a detective agency, Barney was also lumbered with the company's debts--so would Paul take over now and sort things out? Paul, just back from a distant sheep- station, is soon intimidated by half of Sydney, including: Nazi Sam, who needs to make good on a drug shipment gone awry; Wemmeck, a gleeful torturer who has killed at least three people and is working up for more; Mrs. P., the detective-agency's starchy office manager; and Elspeth, a viola player who lusts for Paul. What was former agency owner Mike Sthenios up to? His former wife, Wanda, suffering from cancer, implies that he had a boyfriend. Did the boyfriend, in drag, kill a pair of Melbourne crimms? And where has the agency accountant run off to? Several plot twists later, Paul and Elspeth are in a ramshackle shack being sniped at by almost everyone, including a newly healthy Wanda, while the illegal drug money awaits the best shot. Lively and amusing, though less action-packed and sustained than Rat's Nest and Funnelweb. First in a planned series starring the much put-upon Paul.