San Francisco, 1928. Dashiell Hammett, a former detective of the PinkertonAgency, in his thirties, is a tuberculous drunkard who barely survives writing detective stories. An old colleague, Jimmy Ryan comes to visit him - he needs Dashiell's help to solve the case of Crystal Ling. A Chinese girl mysteriously disappeared. Hammett finds himself once more in the streets of Chinatown, on a complicated job involving his politicians, corrupt police officers, false friends and false corpses. Only his detective instinct will enable him to survive - all the more disillusioned, he will go back to his typewriter.