It is the summer of 1946, the sinister, Gatsby-like millionaire Cary Morrison is found dead in his Chicago mansion, apparently the victim of a burglary gone hopelessly wrong. Soon after, the burglars themselves are found dead, one by one. Ray Foley, just returned from wartime service in Europe, finds himself embroiled. One of the dead burglars was Ray's boyhood friend Eddy Walsh, and Ray decides to involve himself in the search for the killer. At the heart of the mystery is a missing statue, a hollow Greek statuette said to contain Morrison's records of all his illegal financial transactions with mobsters and public officials. Ray's investigation attracts the wrong kind of attention, as a number of interested-and dangerous-people assume he has the statue or knows of its whereabouts.
Ray's search brings him in contact with street toughs, bookies, gangsters, a slick private investigator named Max Silver, a tough young nurse named Hannah Marcel, a crusty street cop named Carmody, and the eccentric Sal Greene, a major figure in the local mob, and the killer, in the hot Chicago summer.