The wife of a public relations man comes to Nero Wolfe to turn a gun over to him. She tells the rotund detective her plan, and how easy it would be to kill the man she no longer loves. Her mind has been constantly working out to kill her husband in her mind, and the temptation grows. Will simply handing the gun over to Nero ensure she won’t be blamed if her husband should be killed? Is that all it will take to hire Nero to represent her in all confidence and shield her from the police?
Examining the gun, Archie can’t prove conclusively it hadn’t been fired recently. No smell of gun powder, and no empty chambers, but it doesn’t mean it hadn’t been cleaned and reloaded. Sure enough Barry ends up dead, and Nero needs to get more details from the victim’s wife. Where was she? What was the timeline of the where abouts of her husband… the maid? Frustrated, and barely convinced of her story, Nero sets Archie on the street to find out all he can, and stay a step ahead of the cops.
It doesn’t take long for Inspector Kraemer to come knocking on Nero’s door. Though he thinks Nero is with holding information, Nero is prepared to tell all if a ballistics report links the gun to the murder. More suspects emerge. How does the employee of the dead man fit into the mystery? Is he privy to screwy business relations? A part of a love triangle with his wife? Nero has his work cut out as he investigates the new developments, and interviews the players.
The strange, and wealthy business clients are caught by Archie, and along with a secret lock box, he wrangles them all to Nero’s office. Cutting to the chase, Nero identifies a motive of black mail. He’s sure his client didn’t kill her husband, but will he wring out the information he needs to expose a killer? It means turning up the fire under the feet of the business partners, and applying some extortion of his own. Frustrations come to a boil for Kraemer,
and Nero still has loose ends to work out, but stand by for the big reveal with all the suspects brought together in Nero’s office.