In Pottsville, Pennsylvania, young Doug Pearce, just fired from his steady job in the brewery, has never strayed far from home. But he's always been fascinated by stories of his Uncle Russ, the family black sheep murdered in Singapore in 1948. In comes a letter from an old friend of his dead uncle inviting him to Toronto. On arrival, Doug learns that wealthy and glamorous Edna has an agenda: she's assembled enough clues to solve the murder and recover a legendary red diamond Russ was thought to be smuggling.
Doug, nervous but game, agrees to play detective. But by the end of his first day in Casablanca, Doug knows he's made a mistake. While he meets people eager to help — a retired museum curator, a beautiful and self-absorbed heiress, and her elderly father, a colleague of Russell Pearce — it becomes clear that someone else is looking for the diamond.