The novel begins in 1983, with the revelation of Jon Fielding's death from AIDS. His lover Michael must cope with it - and the new "problems" arising from his sex-related behaviour. All is not bleak, but it certainly marks the end of the free love and decadence era of the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.
After being absent from Further Tales of the City, the character of Mona Ramsey returns to the Tales series in this book. Mona, now 37 years of age, is living and working in Seattle, Washington, the supposed "San Francisco of the 1980s."