Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the steamy summer of 1953. When publishing-company heir Bower Stockman hires Frank Gates, a middle-aged, down-on-his-luck private investigator, to arrange a murder, Gates reluctantly contacts “handyman” Harry Fairchild. As Frank knows only too well, Harry, a childhood pal, has done that kind of “odd job” before, and is currently as desperate for cash as Frank is. But the situation is complicated. Detective Sergeant Pinky Moberg is determined to cap his long police career by solving the infamous Zola Shea homicide that has bedeviled him for 15 years. His prime suspect: Harry Fairchild, aided and abetted by Frank Gates. Further roiling these choppy waters, Raymond Gates, Frank’s troubled stepson who has recently returned from military service in Europe, has seduced Stockman’s alluring wife and will stop at nothing to steal her from her husband’s bed. The overlapping relationships and tangled objectives lead to an unlikely yet inevitable conclusion in which a broken man betrays an old friend, star-crossed lovers face brutal retribution, and only a latter-day Javert may emerge triumphant.