Was the crash deliberately contrived, a diabolical piece of sabotage, or was it cruelly fortuitous? Simon Drake - Miss Nielsen’s very personable and popular lawyer-detective - happens to be at the airport at the time of the crash, and notices that some surprising people have been awaiting the ill-fated plane: among them, a gangster boss and a millionaire playboy. He hastens to take his boat out into the bay, to help search for possible survivors, but all he manages to pick up is one piece of hand luggage - a cosmetics case which is identified as belonging to Sigrid Thorsen, a young starlet who was joining her fianc at Los Angeles. And the severed key concealed in the case is the first of many clues in the extremely dangerous and complex adventure which invades Drake’s life.
The mystery develops in many directions, and Drake finds himself and his friens more and more involved. In the background there is the hovering, enigmatic presence of the gangster boss. And from time to time a trio of utterly amoral hippies erupt into the narrative.
As we approach the very tense climax, the plot grows darker and more deadly: Miss Nielsen has many surprises in reserve.