The police set up Tinker, so that they can get a favour from Lovejoy. They want him to check out an up-market pawnbroker who is suspected of receiving antiques stolen overseas.
A tough-talking business man hires Lovejoy to recover a sixteenth-century samurai sword which has been stolen from him. Another dealer, Lovejoy's mentor Jim Leonard, buys the sword at an auction, but it is promptly stolen from him by Joanna, the daughter of the original owner. Lovejoy stays on the trail.