When Sam reports his last caper to his secretary, Effie Perine gets confused at the word prodigal. It all starts when Sam finds a sleeping boy, reading a pulp fiction detective magazine. Full of dames with strangely painted eyebrows, and tough guys with guns. The cops don’t believe Robbie’s story, but fill Sam in on what the kid told them about his brother.
Taking his payment in jelly beans, Sam follows up on leads involving the stuffed panda in the department store. Matters take a serious turn when a woman on an escalator is discovered to be connected to a corpse. Sam’s trail of the panda leads to another encounter with the dragon lady, and his weekly thump on the head.
The idea of a hot panda racket doesn’t sit well with the cops. What does it all mean, the connection between a man in a checkered jacket, the dragon lady, and the missing panda? Important clues send Sam on the trail of a hot, red, convertible. The panda’s secret could be worth $50k, but Sam learns the real, explosive secret of the panda.