Chief Inspector Roderick Alleyn and his wife Troy are relaxing at a night club. At the table next to theirs is the party of George Settinger, marquis of Pastern and Bagott. All are waiting for the feature of the floor show. Part of the performance calls for Lord Pastern to fire a gun full of blanks at a band member and for the latter to slump and fall and be borne out by waiters, a wreath over his heart, playing dead. But something goes terribly wrong.