A pulp writer tumbles into a mystery after an encounter at an awards banquet For more than a decade, Brett Halliday has made a living chronicling the adventures of the hard-nosed private detective Mike Shayne. At the banquet for the 1953 Edgar Awards, Halliday is dismayed to find the pulp field overrun by hacks who think X-rated smut and blood-soaked gore are enough to make a mystery. He's about to head home when he meets Elsie Murray, a beautiful author who appreciates a good whodunit—and who has enough of her own troubles to fill a thousand paperbacks. When Elsie is found murdered in her hotel room, the police suspect the last man she was seen with. Halliday is in a jam, and he knows better than anyone else that the only man who can save him is Mike Shayne.