Private investigator Jason Wilder has the toughest boss in River City: It's his mother. She and her husband were legendary police detectives when Jason was growing up. Wild Bill Wilder has since died, and Mom is running the detective agency they had founded with a loving but definitely iron hand.
Working under Mom (also known by her staff as "Queen Victoria" and "Her Highness") is adventurous, no denying that. Jason's present assignment, to locate a missing businessman, leads to some unexpected surprises. He locates the man in a dreary motel, with orders to return him to his worried wife. Instead, the man shoots at him. Before he can recover from the attempt, he is surrounded by police, who punch him, handcuff him, and inform him that his subject is wanted for homicide. From there the case expands, plunging Jason into some twisted bypaths. Why are the members of the suspect's family (including his enchanting sister) fighting tooth and nail over a dilapidated movie house the sister is restoring? Why was the dead man's body found just outside it? Is there something hidden there---and what? With Jason doing the footwork and Mom supplying the know-how, they get dangerously close, and Mom is going to have to take a hand herself.