This may sound like the lead-up to a run-of-the-mill detective story, but Martins is too inept to detect anything. Little goes right for him. He misses clues, gets punched, is bitten by a parrot, and is accused of murder. Oblivious to Vienna's whirlwind of languages, he relies on others to translate. When he's wrangled into giving a speech on the contemporary novel after a propaganda official finds out he's a writer, he flops.