Seventeen year old Benjamin Harris's mother vanishes the very same night as nightclub singer Kitty Kenyon. The police are certain that this is merely a coincidence because war widow Maxine Harris had been a department store sales clerk and devoted single mother. Although the authorities eventually deem this highly publicized tragedy a ''cold case'' Ben refuses to believe that his mother simply vanished into thin air. His obsession with finding the truth becomes the driving force influencing his decision to become a New York City Police Department Detective. Lt. Alvin Pine, Ben's commanding officer and life-long bachelor, marries sophisticated stage actress Brenda Lofton. Brenda takes a keen maternal interest in Ben's personal and professional life, especially his romance with Phyllis Garner, the ''girl next door'' who Ben hadn't seen since the time he became orphaned. Lt. Pine and Ben's partner Jerry Osgood lend their assistance in uncovering the facts behind Maxine Harris's secret life but become entangled with an international criminal organization that may have had a hand in promoting Brenda Lofton's career. Does Brenda possess information about Maxine's disappearance?