Ned Beaumont is a tall, thin, moustache-wearing, TB-ridden, drinking, gambling, hanger-on to the political boss of a corrupt Eastern city. Nevertheless, like every Hammett hero (and like Hammett himself), he has an unbreakable, if idiosyncratic moral code. Ned’s boss wants to better himself with a thoroughbred senator’s daughter; but does he want it badly enough to commit murder? If he’s innocent, who wants him in the frame? Beaumont must find out.