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It’s wartime London. Inspector Gringall of the Yard, long-time friendly rival of private detective Slim Callaghan, sends Slim on a mission to meet Doria Varette, a torch singer at Ferdie’s Place.

Callaghan knows Gringall has something up his sleeve. And when, backstage, Doria asks him to take on a job – to find her boyfriend Lionel Wilbery, a poet with the wrong friends and a drug problem – Callaghan finds Gringall has more than a missing person in his sights.