It’s a story of fast cash, and who may get it by the time the tale is told. A series of catastrophes surround Philip, starting with a car crash near his office. A nurse phones him to tell about the injured man who was on his way to visit the hard boiled detective. With almost no details, a man in a coma, a girl in a red plaid coat, and something about meeting a boat at a pier. Marlowe puts his detective skills to work to filter through any possible of the ships in the harbor. Is Constantine a boat, or a man? Bodies start showing up as Marlowe uncovers more clues.
Soon Philip faces the business end of a pistol, but it only adds clues to solving his mystery. He knows about the mermaid, he has met Constatine, but will there be any honor among the den of thieves he has uncovered?
Held captive, a handy distraction is all that’s needed to turn the tables, and now it’s Marlowe who gets to do some roughing up. Will there be any good word waiting for Philip back at the hospital? Will nurse Riggs offer any further insight in the matter? Reviewing his clues, Marlowe digs himself deeper into danger. A car crash gets Philip his weekly thump on the head… I thought he might escape it for once, but no.
Danger grows, the plan comes together for Marlowe, but falls apart for the bad guys. In the end, everybody loses, but Marlowe, and justice. In epilog, Marlowe tells all in the twisted tale of wrong doing, and back stabbing opportunists.