San Francisco in the mid-1950s, the setting for T.T. Mann, Ace Detective, will be immediately recognizable to anyone who lived in or visited the Bay Area in those years: the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, the classy stores around Union Square, the splendid restaurants on Fisherman's Wharf, the twists and turns of Lombard Street, the intellectual vitality of Ferlingetti's City Lights Bookstore, and much more. The novel, one reader remarked, offers a lively tour of San Francisco as it was seventy years ago.
But criminals are active in this urban paradise. One particularly dangerous example involves a list of city officials and police who are secretly on the payroll of the city's top crime boss, Biggie Fingers. In another example, thieves have absconded with fourteen rare paintings from the home of a gorgeous heiress, Monica Van Dusen.
It falls to T.T. Mann, the ace detective of the book's title, to deal with these challenging cases. T.T. looks frail--he's six feet tall but weighs only twenty-two pounds--and he's new to the gumshoe business, but he has a stalwart spirit and never gives up on a case. His pursuit of the bad guys leads to many amusing episodes in a book aptly described as a light-hearted take on classic noir detective fiction.