Rep, a trademark and copyright lawyer, has followed Melissa to Milwaukee in her quest for an assistant professorship. Then, on the night before the Army-Navy game, a midshipman is found stark naked and barely alive in a cheap motel near the Naval Academy in Annapolis. The victim's closest relatives are Ole and Lena Lindstrom, a pair of aging but scrappy Wisconsin political activists who had asked Rep for copyright advice.
Ole and Lena have a well-earned reputation for trading punches with each other, and when Ole is murdered, Lena becomes an instant suspect. But Rep and Melissa suspect there is more involved, including a connection between the midshipman's mugging and Ole's murder.
To find clues, Rep and Melissa try such techniques as discussing Anna Karenina with a hooker, answering baseball trivia questions, and reviewing fourth-grade geography lessons.