Albert Samson, once described as the private eye combining 'the best moral qualities of the Continental Op and Lew Archer', feels life is looking good when he acquires two clients in an afternoon.
The first, an eccentric old man living in an expensive apartment and obsessed with his home computer, asks him to investigate a young man suspected of running with a wild crowd.
The second is a wealthy banker. His wife has discovered that her birth certificate is a fake which puts her whole history in doubt. Now she wonders if she has any identity at all.
Samson's investigations lead him, via dusty archives, a sentimental night club owner, the police and the press, to the 1930s and 40s and an old murder. It also leads him to suspect that a recent 'natural' death may be a cold-blooded killing.