The city is Turai, where sorcerers and assassins-sometimes, it's hard to tell them apart-ply their wares, the rulers are corrupt, the politicians are worse, and the civic guards might try to solve a crime, except that they've really got better things to do. Overweight and somewhat uncouth, Thraxas may not look like a man of action, (and he'd rather pass on the action, thank you, and order another beer), but if you're in trouble in Turai this portly private eye is probably your only hope. Not that Thraxas himself has much hope in the first of the two complete novels in this volume-A judge has fined him almost every guran he has, two old enemies have threatened his life, and his old commander in the army, after promising a solution to Thraxas' problems, has just turned up dead. Naturally, Thraxas is the prime suspect . . . . In his second case, Thraxas has received a message from an old friend in trouble in the Elvish Isles, and since the elves have no experience in investigating, Thraxas is hired to do the legwork. Naturally, as soon as he arrives in the Isles, things start getting weird. But when the going gets weird, Thraxas gets going. . . .