Shep Ladderback, the Philadelphia Press's aged obit writer, mentors the young Andrea (Andy) Cosicki, fledgling journalist and daughter of the late political fixer,Benny the Lunch Cosicki. Ladderback (who knows everything about everyone in the city) wants Andy to cover the death of a street fruit and vegetable salesman, which seems to him to be suspicious. But Andy has a date for lunch at the Loup Garu, a so-hot-you-can't-get-a-reservation-for-three-months restaurant with a new "culinary concept" (which seems to be horrible food combinations, trumpeted as Transylvanian-Caribbean-fusion) and turns him down. (Ladderback knows that Loup Garu means werewolf; Andy does not.) But Andy ends up in a big story anyhow, when one of the country's most notable food critics drops dead at her table.