Cid Benengeli is in jail and he doesn't know why. All the Prison Director wants is a confession of everything bad Cid's ever done, preferably in a light, airy prose style. Find the last novel of a disappeared playwright - that was the job they'd hired Cid for and it was the manuscript that had gotten him into this mess. Sure, Cid knew where the writer was, and had found the book, too, but why did everyone want it? And why is he now sitting in jail writing the same damned book?