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Private Investigator Van Trillo is also a ventriloquist. He uses his wooden partner, Sam Suede, to interrogate suspects. This tends to unnerve and disorient them, causing them to divulge information unwillingly and unwittingly.


Trillo is about to leave England for his native New York City when he gets a desperate plea for help from a femme fatale, Chloe Lake. She has received anonymous death threats, and is terrified.


Trillo and Suede soon find themselves stranded with Chloe in an old, remote, creepy inn, together with an assortment of eccentric guests. One by one, several of these guests are murdered during the night. Each of the surviving guests quickly becomes a suspect when possible motives are brought to light under Trillo and Suede's clever ventriloquial questioning.


Through all this, Trillo is struggling with his suspicion that his ventriloquial skills have breathed life into Suede, who now seems able to talk without Trillo's assistance. Strangely, though, Suede only seems to do this when he and Trillo are alone. Trillo and Suede must catch the crafty, mad and elusive murderer before he kills them all - and before Trillo goes totally mad himself.


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