Archie Goodwin comes to New York City hoping for a bit of excitement. In his third week working as a night watchman, he stops two burglars in their track - swith a pair of hot lead slugs. Dismissed from his job for being "trigger-happy," he parlays his newfound notoriety into a job as a detective's assistant, helping Del Bascom solve cases like the Morningside Piano Heist, the Rive Gauche Art Gallery Swindle, and the Sumner-Hayes Burglary. But it's while working on the Tommie Williamson kidnapping case that he is introduced to the man who will change his life. Young Tommie is the son of a wealthy hotel magnate, so there's only one detective for the job: Nero Wolfe, the heavyset genius of West Thirty-Fifth Street. Together, Wolfe and Goodwin will form one of the most unlikely crime fighting duos in history - but first Goodwin must find Tommie Williamson, and prove his mettle to Nero Wolfe.