A story of intrigue set in two places, the wealthy San Francisco home of 17 year old Melinda and the ranch of her Spanish godmother outside of the city. Melinda's family prides itself on its ancestry. When British writer Robin Sutherland comes to visit them in search of a chest believed to be buried in California containing proof of his ancestry, Melinda joins him. They are followed by a Chinese prowler and a masked stranger. The prowler turns out to be a narcotics agent misinformed that Robin is a member of a dope ring and the masked stranger, the true villain, is the source of that misinformation. At Melinda's Cotillion Ball he is revealed as none other than Baron Palfox, an old family friend but in reality a charlatan and a thief intent on cheating Robin of his inheritance. Too much of the plot unfolds via explanation and it requires a sleuth reader to untangle all the intricacies. When action is used, there are some exciting moments in store.