The twelfth Travis McGee novel finds McGee and his closest friend, Meyer, the economist, returning to Fort Lauderdale from a wedding. It's late at night; they've taken a wrong turn and are driving down a narrow road in Cypress County, out in the boondocks, trying to make their way back to the Tamiami Trail and home. Out of nowhere, a woman runs right out in front of Miss Agnes, McGee's venerable blue Rolls Royce pickup. McGee swerves and misses the woman by inches, but he loses control of the truck and it winds up underwater in a ditch.
McGee and Meyer manage to escape, but there's no sign of the woman they nearly hit. With no other choice, they begin walking back up the road to a garage they passed earlier. And, as if the night's not gone badly enough already, as they're walking back up the highway, some jerk takes a couple of shots at them. They manage to escape that menace as well and make it back to the garage, where the local sheriff appears and promptly arrests them on suspicion of murder.
It's a long and involved story involving an armored truck robbery several years earlier. The thieves and the money disappeared, but the sheriff seems to think that the murdered man was involved in the robbery, that McGee and Meyer were his accomplices, and that they killed the guy after a falling out.
Naturally, it's going to take some time to sort this out, and obviously, the only guy to do it is Travis McGee. Along the way, there will, of course, be a woman in desperate need of the kind of attention that only McGee can provide, and McGee will have to spend a lot of time philosophizing about his conquest of the woman and examining his conscience and his character.
This is a pretty good tale and, although it's clearly dated, it's not quite as bad as some of the others in the series. As is the case with all of the McGee novels, the reader has to check his or her twenty-first century sensibilities at the door, especially those regarding gender. But if you can allow yourself to do so for two or three hours, this is a fun way to spend an evening.