Ovid Kent, a Sausalito houseboat-based rare book & autograph dealer, retired from the DEA, is hired to find the personally-secured autograph of Babe Ruth, burgled from the autistic son of a famous non-agenarian trial lawyer. But first, Ovid is sent to the hospital with a concussion delivered by a legendary monster sturgeon. The concussion appears to allow him contact with Babe Ruth himself. In the hospital, Ovid falls in love with his beautiful intake nurse.
Ovid’s quest leads him to his hometown, Cleveland, the scene of the autograph signings a half century earlier. There, he discovers the thief’s whereabouts, only to find he’d “commissioned” rather than committed the actual theft. But before facing him, Ovid visits his father’s grave where he angrily confronts his mother, whom he hasn’t seen since she abandoned him forty years earlier. Securing the autograph, Ovid returns to San Francisco where he reveals the shocking outcome of his search to his client. In the denouement, Ovid’s falling in (love with his nurse) and falling out (with his mother) are neatly resolved. “Babe Ruth Is Missing” is based upon an incident from the author’s youth. Its leitmotifs are abandonment and forgiveness.