San Francisco's lawyer-sleuth Sharon McCone (The Cheshire Cat's Eye, etc.) is hired to find out who's trying to terrorize the mostly Vietnamese tenants in the raunchy Tenderloin district's seedy Globe Hotel. She has barely begun to explore the world of porn, street crazies and hard-working Asian families when young Hoa Dinh's murdered body turns up in the hotel's basement. His best friend Duc Vang disappears soon after, in the wake of the death of porn-king Otis Knox, found in his newly purchased Crystal Palace theater where he sometimes met Duc's 15-year-old sister Dolly. At tedious length McCone interviews landlord Roy La Fond, hotel residents, the street's Bible-quoting Brother Harry and Yeats-quoting Jimmy Milligan. The murderer's identity comes to her in time to rescue Duc, but before that happens there's lots of preachy stuff about the plight of the refugees. Dull and colorless despite its setting and exotic characters--in short, none of it ever comes to life.