Down on his luck, a writer takes a ghostwriting job for a troubled comedian. Stewart Hoag’s first novel made him the toast of New York. Everyone in Manhattan wanted to be his friend, and he traveled the cocktail circuit supported by Merilee, his wife, and Lulu, his basset hound. But when writer’s block sunk his second novel, his friends, money, and wife all disappeared. Only Lulu stuck by him. The only opportunity left is ghostwriting—an undignified profession that still beats dental school. His first client is Sonny Day, an aging comic who was the king of slapstick three decades ago. Since he and his partner had a falling out in the late 1950s, Day has grown embittered and poor, until the only thing left for him to do is write a memoir. Hoagy and Lulu fly to Hollywood expecting a few months of sunshine and easy living. Instead they find Day’s corpse, and a murder rap with Hoagy’s name on it.