Mike Hammer, recuperating in Florida after a near-fatal mob shoot-out, returns to New York for a funeral after learning his old mentor, Doolan, has allegedly committed suicide. But Manhattan no longer feels like home. Hammer's longtime partner, Velda, has disappeared, and his office is shut down. When a woman is murdered, Hammer is drawn into the hunt for a cache of Nazi diamonds that makes the Maltese Falcon seem like a knickknack and for the mysterious woman who was close to Doolan in his final days. Soon Hammer is hobnobbing with coke-snorting celebrities and playing footsie with a sleek lady DA. It all leads to a Mafia social club where Hammer and his .45 come calling.