Leonidas Witherall, "the man who looks like Shakespeare", is writing the final words of the latest adventure of Lieutenant Hazeltine when his housekeeper Mrs. Mullet interrupts to offer her "candied opinion". The next interruption is two men who deliver an unwanted deep freeze and leave, followed by a blonde in an evening gown and an orchid corsage who mistakenly serenades him with "Happy Birthday". The deep freeze proves to contain the dead body of Ernest Finger, the French teacher at Meredith's Academy, which Witherall has recently inherited. Witherall musters an unlikely gang of associates, including Sonia Mullet, her boyfriend and half the Finger family, to trace the trail of the moving Finger corpse and identify the murderer.
The adventures of Leonidas Witherall were a short-lived radio series at about the time of this novel. In the novels, Witherall is also the author of a radio series and novels about the adventures of stalwart Lieutenant Hazeltine. Some supporting characters continue between novels; there is always a beautiful girl, a handsome former student, and an intrepid housewife.