Two years after Wolfe's retirement, his past returns with deadly intent.
It wasn't Nero Wolfe's idea for Orrie Cather to kill himself, but the great detective gave his blessing to his longtime associate's plan. Cather had killed three people, and it was only fair to pay the price. Though Wolfe reacted to Cather's death with his characteristic calmness, prize assistant Archie Goodwin could see the rotund genius of West Thirty-Fifth Street was shaken to his well-fed core. Wolfe decided his sleuthing days were finished.
The detective's retirement lasts until the day Maria Radovich walks through his townhouse door. She is the daughter of Milos Stefanovic, New York Symphony conductor and long-ago compatriot of Wolfe's. Like Wolfe, Stefanovic spent his youth as a freedom fighter in the mountains of Montenegro. The conductor has been receiving death threats, and Wolfe agrees to come out of retirement to help his old friend. But before he can attack the case, Stefanovic is murdered, and for the first time in years, Wolfe and Goodwin must go to war.