When the owner of a restaurant is found dead, his brother whose also his partner asks Barnaby to investigate.And he thinks Barnaby should focus on one of his brother's employees whom Betty knows. It seems that the owner was always making passes at his wife. And another employee saw the two men fighting on the night the owner died and tries to blackmail them. But the wife has other plans.
Barnaby's cousin, a cop from Chicago comes and calls him, he tells Barnaby he has a lead on the man who killed his partner, whom he's been looking for. But after talking to him, some men grab him and kill him. Barnaby's informed of his death. He then calls his son, J.R. who comes and demands to know what is being done to find who killed his father. Barnaby thinks he has a lead but proceed cautiously. But J.R. is impatient and goes on his own.
A man supplying secrets to an investigative reporter is murdered in the desert by the hired henchman of a crooked land developer. Barnaby is hired to investigate to get to the bottom of it, but not before another murder is committed.
A grieving widow asks Barnaby to look into the death of her charter pilot husband who died on a run. During the investigation Barnaby and J. R. discover a family operated money smuggling ring with a black sheep son stealing from them.
Barnaby suspects foul play following the accidental deaths of a judge and a doctor, who both received alleged phone calls just prior to their demise from a dead woman whom they both helped put into a mental institution years before.
In order to clear an innocent man Barnaby races against time to find an escaped convict who's testimony can set him free. Also trying to find the same convict is a bounty hunter with a reputation for bringing his quarry in dead.