Erskine is directing an investigation involving art forgeries of Frank Stocker, a Los Angeles-based chieftain of La Cosa Nostra. The investigation takes a sudden turn when the curator of a Houston museum turns up dead. Stocker is seeking the approval of the Mafia's High Commission to expand his operation, which involves producing forgeries of paintings and selling them to museums, foundations and other buyers. The weak link in Stocker's plans is Christopher Simes, a talented but erratic artist who is painting the forgeries. The High Commission approves of Stocker's plans, but only if Stocker's friend, responsible for the killing in Houston, is hit. Erskine and Colby race to save the killer's life so they can pursue the case against Stocker.