Lydia Chin, a Chinese-American P.I. who lives in New York City's Chinatown, is hired for a simple job. She's to deliver the ransom for a set of stolen sketches that comprise the inaugural collection of fashion designer Genna Jing and her new label, Mandarin Plaid. But everything on this simple job goes terribly wrong. The ransom is stolen out from under Lydia, her sometimes partner, Bill Smith, is arrested, and just as she is trying to sort out exactly what is really going on, the client fires her. Lydia, however, isn't about to just let it go. Determined to find answers and preserve her pride, Lydia and Bill follow a confusing trail that leads from the sweatshops of Chinatown to the drawing rooms of Manhattan's wealthy Upper East Side and into a dark underworld of prostitution, drugs, and murder. All they need to uncover is who stole the sketches, who hijacked the ransom payment, and-most important-who would kill to keep them from the truth.