Capo Carlo Venezzio dies of a heart attack while in prison, but not before he's ordered right-hand man Tony Bacardo to see that a million dollars' worth of diamonds has been salted away for his illegitimate daughter, Louise, and her daughter, Angela. To help Louise claim the jewels, hidden in a cemetery in tiny Fowler's Landing, California, Bacardo, now swearing allegiance to another don, Benito Cella, must tread carefully; meanwhile, a mafia soldier, Fabrese, is on his trail and wants the diamonds for himself, so Bacardo hotfoots it back to New York, telling the women to recover the jewels themselves. They call in part-time p.i. Alan Bernhardt (Except for the Bones, etc.), who witnesses a double- cross--which leads to a double-kidnapping. The mafia then reenters the picture, and Bernhardt must exert last-minute heroics to avert a bloodbath. A persuasive primer on the mafia's business methods and ethics. Old pro Wilcox characterizes the mobsters so deftly that his story suffers when it switches focus to Bernhardt. Flawed but clever.