The story begins with Bertha being released from a sanitarium where she has lost a great deal of weight and some of her obsession over food. She has even lost a bit of her cynicism, succumbing to the flattery of a client who comments favorably on her looks and personality. The client is wealthy, although a bit duplicitous, in that he hires the Cool and Lam agency to find out what happened to his son's fiance, (Corla Burke), although he doesn't really want her found. With few clues to go on, Lam manages to find her, but he runs into a casino scam run by an ex-boxer and his female accomplice, gets beat up a couple of times and is dragged off a train under suspicion of the murder of the ex-boxer. He manages to extricate himself and joins up with a punch-drunk ex-boxer and the woman running the casino scam (Helen Framley). They camp in the desert and rent a house where the boxer is teaching Donald how to box. This section is very well done. Throughout their association, you never know whether Donald is simply continuing to look for Corla, jointly falling for Helen Framley or simply taking some time off. In the end, the best bet is that he is doing all three. However, while there is clearly a lot off affection between them, it is not to be and Helen and the ex-boxer join forces to continue the casino scams. Donald unmasks the murderer and learns the reasons behind the strange circumstances. When the client tries to flatter Bertha into lowering the fee, she breaks out of her softie stage and goes back to being greedy and hungry. At the end, Donald is nearby when Helen and her new companion rig a slot machine, but he makes no attempt to make contact. This is one of the best Donald Lam/ Bertha Cool mysteries, in that Donald is a much more complicated character than he is in the others. He proves to be a softie, falling for a woman that he knows is dangerous and wrong for him. Yet, in the end, he also turns out to be a cynical detective, willing to trust others, but only to a point. Which is why Bertha Cool is the perfect boss for him to have.