At Christmastime in Boston, a thief targets the local scrooge.
The angry old men of the Comrades of the Convivial Codfish club celebrate yuletide doing what they do best: eating, drinking, and greeting the season of giving with a spirited 'bah, humbug!' Though well past sixty, Jem Kelling is a relative infant compared to some of the club's elder statesmen, and he has waited decades to host their annual Christmas scowl. And during his first evening as Exalted Chowderhead, he is thrilled to find the wine abundant, the chowder superb, and the humbugs as lusty as ever. But as the night winds down, Jem is horrified to find that the ceremonial Codfish necklace has vanished -- right off of his neck!
His nephew-in-law, art investigator Max Bittersohn, is convinced his new uncle was the victim of a practical joke. But when the old man takes a hip-snapping tumble, Max is forced to conclude that one of the scrooges is trying to perpetrate a deadly Christmas jeer.