Mrs. Coleman's husband, an engineer, has been missing for several days. Abigail Coleman asks Jacob Lawdon to find him. Though Lawdon, a PI in San Diego, usually doesn't track down missing husbands, he takes on the case because he's short of money. It turns out that not only Coleman, but also his secretary, Olivia Jackson, and her daughter, Emma, are missing. Before Lawdon comes across Coleman in a boathouse, which belongs to Mr. Jackson, Olivia's husband, he's knocked down by Jackson's gamekeeper, Taylor Moore. Coleman then tells Lawdon that he has an affair with Emma and that he's looking for Emma who'd run away after a quarrel. Though Lawdon has found Coleman, he keeps on looking for Olivia Jackson and her daughter. This leads him into a rehab center where Emma was treated for alcohol abuse, and to Mrs. Young whose son Mike is Emma's friend. By and by he finds out that all those people have a secret in common which dates back more than twenty years. Finally one of them dies a violent death. Jacob Lawdon is a great admirer of Philipp Marlow. Like him he's a PI and like him he tries to stick to a strict code of ethics, but fails from time to time. Though he sometimes is quite cynical and hardboiled, he's full of sympathy and compassion. He's both tough and sensitive. He tries to act with integrity, but he's witty and good with words. He does everything to find out the truth though he knows that often all attempts are in vain. He prefers tea to hard drinks, but pretends to prefer hard drinks to tea. He's not keen on money, though he's always short of money. And last but not least he tries to be honest with the reader.
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