Six months after the disappearance of Tuscarora, PA businessman Tom Gruneman, his boss, Peter Cable, and his wife, Holly Gruneman, hire Tom's best friend, private detective John Klute to find out what happened to Tom, as the police have been unable to do so, and despite John having no expertise in missing persons cases. The only lead is a typewritten obscene letter Tom purportedly sent to Manhattan actress/model/call girl Bree Daniel, who admits to having received such letters from someone, and since having received several obscene telephone calls as well. The suggestion/belief is that Tom was one of Bree's past johns, although she has no recollection of him when shown his photograph. Bree tricking is more a compulsion than a financial need. In their initial encounters, John and Bree do whatever they can to exert their psychological dominance over the other, especially as Bree initially refused to even speak to him.

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