The story begins with a very wealthy would-be client and his female business manager entering private eye Elvis Cole's office only to find him standing on his head. Cole describes this exercise as retarding the aging process.
Disproving of Cole's irrevererance and ready to leave, the business manager talks her boss into relating the story of how his 3 Million dollar Japanese manuscript had been stolen and his desire to hire Cole to find it and return it.
Cole takes the case aainst his better judgement and begins the investigation which leads him to the scene of the crime, a Los Angeles mansion. Then to meet his client's alcohol soaked wife who is looking for extra-cirricular love affairs, and a disturbed teen age step daughter. The case leads him to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, to art appraisers and nightclubs and a rude introduction to the Japanese/American underworld.
Calling on his partner Joe Pike, a formidible ex-marine and ex-police L.A. SWAT team marksman to assist, the action becomes intense, rapid and occurs at unexpected times. Cole is led to believe the step daughter has been kidnapped, and eventually murder enters the investgation to further complicate the case.