It's December 1942 and Betty Ahern is enjoying her fledgling career as a private detective, investigating everything from missing jewelry to wandering boyfriends. But when Bell Airplane co-worker Emilia Brewka, whose grandmother recently died, wants Betty to prove the death was murder and not natural causes, Betty thinks Emilia's grief has her seeing things that aren't there.
After a member of the visiting Polish government in exile is murdered, she learns the grandmother may have contacted him about a secret involving a wealthy Buffalo family-a secret that goes all the way back to the Old Country and the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war. Suddenly, murder looks more than possible.
Betty and her friends travel between Buffalo's working-class neighborhoods and the city's high society, determined to unearth the secret and find justice for Emmie's grandmother. But mixing with the upper class quickly becomes dangerous and potentially deadly-both for Betty's career as a detective and herself.