Eleven-year-old Chase, ""your average American apple pie kid,"" and his 80-year-old friend Babette, who sports frizzy orange hair, are the stick-figure sidekicks (Hook repeatedly refers to them as ""the odd couple"") who sniff out and help solve this flimsy mystery. The story opens with Babette barring the way of a bulldozer come to raze an abandoned diner full of stray cats that she has been feeding. There will be time, it turns out, to remove the cats--but then the story leaves this cause behind to investigate strange doings in the boarded-up Liberty Street warehouse. Following the last stray cat through a basement window, Chase overhears a conversation among big-time thieves. Later, at Macy's in search of dog biscuits (Babette remembers when Macy's carried them), they see a blond woman from the warehouse steal a diamond necklace. This leads to police sergeant Williams hiring the unlikely duo to steal a rack of expensive watches from Macy's and peddle them to the Liberty Street fence. In the end the blond woman is also revealed as an underground agent, which makes their role even harder to credit. But the whole operation is uncoordinated and unconvincing.