There are few people Nero Wolfe respects, and Lon Cohen of the New York Gazette is one of them. So when Cohen asks for a favor, Wolfe is inclined to listen. According to Cohen, someone wants to kill the Gazette's gossip columnist, Cameron Clay. Death threats are a regular hazard for Clay, who has hurled insults and accusations at every bold-faced name in the five boroughs. But the latest threats have carried a more sinister tone. The columnist has narrowed his potential killers down to five people. When Clay turns up dead, the cops deem it a suicide. The bigwigs at the Gazette don't agree, so they retain Wolfe to figure out which of the suspects had the mettle to pull the trigger.