All clues indicate that someone is looking for a priceless cornucopia filled with jewels dating from the time of Marco Polo that was once in the possession of Mayo's sea captain father. Similarities to The Maltese Falcon draw Dashiell Hammett and his acerbic lady Lillian Hellman into the chase, and for a while it seems that everyone, from the washed-up silent film actress Karen Barrett to the greatest screen vamp of the twenties, Theda Bara, to studio mogul Samuel Goldwyn, has had his or her hands on the cornucopia.
But then a murder is discovered, and another, and a third. Who wants the prize badly enough to kill for it? A bossy Italian contessa or her disgruntled lover? The proprietor of an antique shop or his bewigged "daughter" Nell? The assistant to Hollywood's trendiest interior designer? Samuel Goldwyn??
Once again Detective Herb Villon, his girlfriend, gossip columnist Hazel Dickson, and his assistant Jim Mallory star alongside the real celebrities in a glamorous story of murder, mayhem, and "such stuff as dreams are made on."