Ellery Queen visits Hollywood, and looks into a nasty prank that sent a man to his grave . . .
Ellery Queen stands naked by the window, sipping rum from a frosted glass, a corpse at his feet. The deceased is Hollywood, and the cause of death is clear: television. Queen has come to Los Angeles in search of a plot for his latest mystery, but the moribund movie business offers nothing more than nostalgia for better days. He’s about to give up and go home when a pretty girl appears and offers a mystery far stranger than anything a filmmaker has ever produced.
The woman’s name is Laurel, and her father has been murdered by a dead dog. The canine was sent as a gift—1 in a series of vile, cryptic packages—and it scared her father to death. The deceased pet is the most peculiar murder weapon Queen has ever come across, and unless he’s quick, this story will not have a Hollywood ending.