Charlie Howard - mystery writer and professional thief - is flush with the success of his Paris book reading when he agrees to show a novice the basics of the trade by breaking into the man's own apartment. Trouble ensues when it turns out the apartment belongs to someone else. The next day, Charlie's fence hires him to steal an ordinary-looking oil painting - from the same address. Mere coincidence? Charlie reckons there's no harm in finding out - until a dead body turns up in his living room. Hiding in a Montmartre hotel, Charlie tries to work out how to save his skin, while also placating his agent Victoria, who has arrived unannounced in the mistaken belief that Charlie actually looks like the author photo he provided.