When shy, retiring, Alvin Zelinka, a Contract Marketing Specialist with the Department of Defense, dies from a massive heart attack, Matt Dawson is hired by Alvin's Baltimore estate lawyer to find the decedent's sister, Anna Zelinka Lieber. She has not been heard from in thirty-nine years, and no one knows if she is alive or dead. Until he begins work, Matt does not realize that she is the wife of a communist party spy, nor does he understand that within a week he will find himself, figuratively, in the world of Alger Hiss, Whitaker Chambers, Richard Nixon, and the House Un-American Activities Committee as they attempt to weed out communist agents who have infiltrated our government.
Matt tracks the missing woman, her husband, and their two children to Cuernavaca, Mexico, Warsaw, Poland, and then back to the United States. While doing so, he stumbles across a long-buried secret of Marvin Jonathan Freedlander, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Freedlander, who aspires to become the next mayor of the Big Apple, will do anything to keep that secret from becoming public-even commit murder.