Prohibition is ended but the Great Depression still grips Detroit and someone is kidnapping the children of Ford River Rouge plant managers demanding company president Edsel Ford pay the ransom to free them. Detroit private detective Jonathan Raines returns in a new case, helping the auto-magnate put an end to the threat and to expose the criminals’ plot to escalate the terror to the Ford family personally. Besides his customary perch above the Corktown toy store, Raines uses Sid Engle’s new downtown night club as his unofficial office while unraveling the kidnappers’ network. As Detroiters are brimming with anticipation of the hometown heavyweight Joe Louis’s rematch with Nazi superman Max Schmeling, Raines is aided in his investigation by young Wayne State University student, Thelma Rybinski, whose ambition is to be the first female to write a great American detective novel using Raines as a blueprint for her main character. Tracking back on some of the victims’ families in the kidnappings, it becomes clear that something is wrong with the stories. Then one of the children is kidnapped along with his mother and once the ransom is paid, Raines and Thelma stake out the victim’s house. After dark, a woman and boy are let out of a car a block away and walk up to the house. Once inside, there is a gunshot and a car pulls up, picking up the boy and woman who drive off. Raines finds the body of the victim’s father and surprising evidence revealing he was involved in at least one of the other kidnappings. As the clues pile up, Raines believes the children’s parents themselves are involved in the kidnapping scheme to bilk money out of Edsel Ford, knowing Ford’s own children are too heavily guarded most of the time. They appear confident he will pay ransom for those children of his employees providing they are returned unharmed. Raines discovers cunning Soviet agents have recruited the parents into the bizarre kidnapping scheme as revenge for loved ones murdered while marching to get their jobs back at Ford’s Rouge Plant back in ’32. That was when Ford’s right-hand man and security chief Harry Bennett ordered his hired gunmen to open fire on the marchers, killing some and wounding many more. He finds the kidnapping scheme is a prelude to a much more sinister plot. Assisted by street-wise associate L.C. Patterson, Raines uncovers the deadly plot by the Russians to kidnap and execute two of Edsel Ford’s children and their mother as they travel by rail to their summer home in Maine. In explosive actions, they take on the kidnappers in a series of attacks along the route outside Cleveland and again in a Boston train station and finally in a heart-thumping conclusion at Skylands, the Edsel Ford estate in Seal Harbor, Maine.