Murder was in the air. A cop had killed himself, and every crook in town knew that would be sure to bring on the big heat. Why did they fear a dead man? Dave Bannion, homicide sergeant, fought for the answer to that question. The dead man was a police clerk who shot himself for no obvious reason. That was Bannion's first judgment, until a girl named Lucy presented a quite different picture of the dead man from the one he had shown to the world and to his fastidious, glacial wife. Bannion's chief, Lieutenant Wilks, wanted the case closed and speculation ended quickly and tightly. So did Max Stone and Lagana, who held the city in a sinister, underworld grip. But why? Why did they all fear a dead man... ?