To recover an African artifact, St. Ives will trade $250,000 - or his life.
Philip St. Ives is the kind of man who can convince a vice cop and a paroled mobster to sit down to a hand of poker. Once he was a reporter with a daily column, a fat Rolodex, and a reputation for indifference to criminal behavior. Now he is a go-between, a professional mediator between thieves and the people they rip off. For arranging the recovery of a stolen necklace, painting, or child, St. Ives takes 10 percent of the ransom. His work takes him across the globe, but more importantly, it pays his alimony.
An African warrior's shield has come to Washington, where a gang of art-minded burglars pluck it from the museum. They demand $250,000 for the return of the priceless artifact, and request that St. Ives make the hand-off. But when he goes to deliver the cash, he finds himself playing a more deadly game than five-card draw.
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