Benjamin Gold is a private eye who in 1952 takes on a murder case that implicates his ex-in-laws. Gold once practiced law but changed professions after cracking up at the end of the war. The murder victim was crusading lawyer Morry Sorin, who was shot in an apparent hold-up. The police consider the case closed, but Sorin’s daughter suspects a conspiracy.
Gold has a personal score to settle with his former in-laws. He is a Jew who married into a wealthy Gentile family that never accepted him despite his wholehearted efforts to assimilate. Gold’s marriage failed, but not before it irreconcilably alienated him from his own parents and brother.
Gold relives this history as he investigates Sorin’s murder. He also finds himself the target of an F.B.I. sting over his association with Braunstein, his former psychiatrist whom the government is trying to deport as a Communist. Gold cracks the Sorin case, but to dubious effect, given his ex-in-laws’ success in skirting prosecution. He’s left to devise his own way of achieving justice.