An initially intriguing but ultimately tenuous case for San Francisco's downbeat, wry police-detective Frank Hastings--beginning with the killing of bodyguard Charlie Quade, who was guarding John Kramer, young grandson of imperious tycoon Alexander Guest. The obvious suspect? John's father Gordon Kramer, divorced from Guest's daughter Marie: he abducted his beloved son from the Guest mansion just about the time that Quade was gunned down. According to Guest's evidence, Kramer is the killer. According to Kramer and son John (both of whom are quickly captured), the shots occurred just after they'd left the mansion. So the puzzled Hastings talks to--among others--Quade's girlfriend, miserable alcoholic Marie, and Marie's live-in bodyguard. He looks into Kramer's alleged ties to Mob crime. And he eventually winds up with a partially farfetched, partially obvious solution. A knotty, unrewarding puzzle--filled out with Hastings' burly sentiment, a dandy chase-sequence, and nicely sketched character portraits.