The Grand Piano Chase is a riot of unintended consequences in Mudstone Creek, Colorado, a village where most of the men are eccentric and all of the women are smart. Gary Bullock, 29,has been a professional grad student for three years, dawdling over a simple cowboy novel as a thesis requirement in a New Mexico university. In June of 1986 he receives two ultimatums. The Dean gives him till August to submit his completed work or be expelled. And Sherrie, his live-in girl friend announces he will be a father in December. "You've never held a job longer than six months. I'll not raise two children. Get a job. Get a life or get out of mine." Unable to face more than one crisis at a time, he flees to his uncle Dan's cabin in Colorado, hoping to be put up for a summer of peace and quiet while he writes. Sherrie will neither marry him nor even answer his phone calls. In his first week in Mudstone the first man he meets accuses him of having stolen a grand piano, a Boesendorfer Model 219 Imperial worth over $85,000. And he accidentally offends Seth Macon, the richest man in town, who promptly pulls a few strings and has him expelled. Attempting to "get a life" on his own, he finds his education has left him painfully unequipped to live among ordinary people. To retaliate against Macon he writes and records "The Ballad of Mountain Dan," contrasting the innocence of his uncle with the stealth and greed of "Simon Pure. Given air time, the song goes viral, infuriating both Macon and the IRS--and inciting a media-driven frenzied search in the mountains for the purloined piano--the Grand Piano Hunt. From absurdity to absurdity the month's events entangle Gary and Dan in an ever-deepening morass of IRS seizures and arrest warrants as the piano in tracked down. But in a scant thirty-six hours after Sherrie enters Mudstone, she engineers a tour de force of subterfuge, persuasion and horse-trading that satisfies the IRS, the police, Gary's uncle (who elopes with a keyboard virtuoso), Seth Macon and Gary--who has learned that books are not life and in the process has become a small town journalist and a married man soon to be the father of twins.