A case of mistaken identity or delicious deception? BARBARA LACEY, a sultry blonde, saunters into the Night and Day, a St. Louis bar owned by ALFIE GREENBLATT. For hours, she waits to deliver a mysterious envelope to a man that never appears. Reluctantly, she entrusts it to ALFIE and steps into the back alley. Minutes later, Alfie hears the crisp pop of a bullet. He calls SERGEANT REGGIE COMBS to investigate BARBARA’s death. Accident…or murder?
HELEN TATTAGLIA approaches her neighbors, ELVIN SUGGS and his partners, COBRA GLYNES and DIMOND “DI” REDDING, of the Grapevine Detective Agency. She suspects that her in-laws have arranged her murder at the request of their son, Marvin, and she hires them to trail her “abusive” husband. The detectives are skeptical, but they desperately need the money. They accept the case, and soon discover that Barbara Lacey’s past is rife with a host of shady ladies—and more than one Barbara Lacey.
Beneath her prickly façade, DI longs for romance. She is smitten with DR. JULES DERRY, her college sweetheart. Elvin and Cobra protest. They believe he is unscrupulous. A talented plastic surgeon, DERRY lost his medical license after a Tattaglia family member died during surgery. Derry’s subsequent operation on Barbara Lacey also proves fatal. DEJUAN, Barbara’s manager-husband, is livid, but he is determined to stay in business. If Barbara look-alikes assume her identity, his profits—legal or not—will continue to thrive.
DeJuan and Derry underestimated the sultry blonde, aka Barbara Lacey. They never thought she would steal “before and after” photos that showcased Derry’s superior cosmetic surgery skills. The doctor believes they will help him to secure a new medical license, and arranges a meeting to buy the photos from the blonde. A romantic evening with Di turns deadly, and he fails to show.
REGGIE turns to the Grapevine Agency. Their “street” contact, PARRY LEACH, an ex-con, purloins the Lacey files from BARI LUX, Derry’s secretary and jilted girlfriend. The photos explain the relationships between the women. A Tattaglia family member murders Derry. The Grapevine Agency survives another case!