Professor Ethan Noll is a brilliant but slightly mad chemist who used to work for Diet Smith before he went solo. Noll moved into the Tracy’s neighborhood and partnered with Tess and other local ladies to produce a new line of perfume. Noll was also working on a hush-hush contract to develop a new gasoline formula.
A woman named Angelorious has the contract with Noll to produce the gasoline formula and at the same time she presents herself to Tess’s group as representing Wisteria Cosmetics and wanting to produce their new perfume line. Tracy is doubtful of the whole enterprise after Noll blows all the windows and doors off his house working on a formula.
When Noll mixes up the formula’s, Tess finds herself with gasoline instead of perfume and Angelorious takes possession of the Perfume, shooting Professor Noll to avoid paying him. Angelorious auctions her “new gasoline” to the highest bidder, a man named Driller, but is enraged to find she has the perfume. Noll survives the gunshot to the chest because he was wearing a medical wrap after the previous explosion. Tracy arrives to help, having heard the gunshot from home and after he learns Angelorious took the wrong formula he lays in wait inside Ethan’s home for Angelorious to return.
Return she does with a handgun, but Tracy splashes her eyes with a gasoline sample and Angelorious flees, driving away half blind. Weaving at high speeds, the blind woman hits another vehicle, flips and is killed in a vehicle fire. Tess’s perfume business has fallen apart, but Noll goes on to be rich selling his gasoline formula.
Gravel Gertie calls Dick Tracy asking him to talk to her husband B.O. Plenty since he’s been spending a lot of time at Jack’s Casino. Dick promises to have a talk with him but he finds B.O. winning his second jackpot of the day. B.O. keeps winning and we learn this is all part of a plot by the casino head, One-Eyed Jack.
Jack and his men target gambling personalities that will not store their money in tha bank. B.O., who is storing his winnings in his basement obviously falls into this category. After $750,000 of winnings, the winner’s cash is robbed, netting Jack a substantial sum of money. Some of this cash is then kicked back to a kingpin by the name of Big Ace, who has several casino managers doing the same thing.
Tracy asks B.O. to talk to One-Eyed Jack while wearing a wire to gather information. B.O. agrees, but totally blows his cover in the conversation and is abducted by One-Eye’s men. They drive B.O. out to Iowa and dump him in a corn field. Tracy storms the casino to save B.O. and is knocked unconscious by a man named Tons.
Tons then leads two of Jack’s men out to the Plenty’s homestead, Sunny Dell Acres. Gravel Gertie, harmed with shotgun and rifle wounds two of the men with bear traps and finally gets the best of Tons with a raccoon trap inside a money bag. She then holds the three men prisoner until B.O. returns having caught a ride with some bikers in Iowa.
Back in the Casino, Jack holds a gun on Dick Tracy and holds him responsible for the death of his sister, the Queen of Diamonds who was killed a year earlier. Tracy jumps Jack before he can be executed and the two brawl throughout the Casino, destroying gaming tables and the like. Jack finally regains his weapon but before he can fire on Tracy, we hear another gunshot and Jack falls dead. The shooter is the King of Clubs, the owner of a number of casinos, including this one. The King of Clubs has noticed a falling off of revenue (due to the forced winnings) and had come to investigate. Tracy thanks him for saving his life and then races to Sunny Dell Acres, fearful for Gertie but finds she has handled the situation herself.
Tracy returns to the casino and answers the phone when Big Ace calls for the money Jack should be delivering. Tracy poses as Jack’s delivery man and meets Big Ace with a bag of money at another casino. Tracy engages Big Ace in a game of double or nothing high card for the money and using a card with “Digital Imaging Thermal Technology” (probably a Diet Smith invention) he wins the draw. Big Ace then tries to shoot Tracy dead but Tracy returns fire first, wounding him in the stomach. Ace is booked on extortion, robbery and attempted murder. At the end of the story the King of Clubs lets the Plenty’s keep their winnings.
Bonnie Braids comes home from college and Tess and Tracy take time to see the O’Connell Circus with her their daughter. During the performance, a performer, Louise Trapeze falls to her death and Tracy is the first one on the scene and discovers she has been shot. Ringo (the Ringmaster) is hysterical and shows Tracy a warning message he received about a possible murder. A second message is delivered while they are standing around talking, this one threatens to kill Ringo for talking to Tracy.
Dick is sure someone in the Circus is responsible and he quickly meets the performers, including Fee Fi the Giant, Mr. Pops the clown, Barb Els the strong woman, Della Contessa the fat lady, Smally a dwarf and Mustasha the bearded lady. Agent Karen Ennen from the FBI shows up and reveals Ringo was in witness protection while members of Tracy’s department arrive and disappear as it suits the story on any given day. Agent Ennen tells Tracy that Ringo was a whistleblower for an import/export company smuggling hi-tech weapons into South America. Evidence shows that murdered Louise Trapeze was in fact a gunman.
The clown Mr. Pops holds a gun on Tracy, Ennen and Ringo. He backs Tracy and Ennen into a tiger cage with the Tiger Cyber with plans to pin the murders on Ringo. He tells the captive detective that Barb Els shot Louise Trapeze so she could get first crack at killing Ringo. They all wanted revenge since he had been blackmailing them. Pops was once a part of the import/export company. Tracy and Ennen are in trouble with the tiger until Fee Fi grabs it’s tail and Della Contessa lowers a trapeze bar into the cage and saves them.
Mr. Pops climbs on top of the tiger cage and begins firing at Tracy and Fee Fi grabs him and tosses Pops into the tiger cage. Fee Fi is shot in the process. With the Tiger closing on Pops, Barb Els enters the cage and calms the animal down. Tracy arrests half the circus. Ringo gets time for blackmail, Mr. Pops for assault and attempted murder and Barb Els for murder. Fee Fi was in critical condition but survived.
World famous Maestro, Phillip Harmonic, conducts a Respighi symphony with Tess and Dick in the audience. Phillip is furious and barely able to hold his emotions in check because his son Ludwig has taken their Stradivarius string instrument. Ludwig sells the Stradivarius for $2 million dollars and returns a substitute violin to his father who is not fooled and threatens to kill him. Ludwig ignores these threats and renames himself Kid Vicious, the lead in a new rock band calling themselves “The Ringtones”.
The buyer of the stolen Stradivarius is Virgil Ohso and he hires a man named Chris Shendo to install a bomb in the instrument without affecting its musical performance. The Stradivarius is then returned to Maestro just in time for an embassy gala held for a new ambassador. The Ambassador is a fan of American rock music and both a string quartet led by Phillip Harmonic and the Ringtones will play. The Chief asks Tracy and Tess to attend as additional security and Tracy notices the Stradivarius does not go through the detection machines and leaps to the correct conclusion it must be a bomb. He grabs the instrument and throws it in a swimming pool where it explodes harmlessly when a high C note is played elsewhere.
As the place is evacuated Virgil Ohso and his muscle Low Note are outside to see the results of their mayhem and young Ludwig notices Virgil as the man he sold the Stradivarius to. He confronts the men and his father gets involved before Virgil pulls a gun and fires. Ludwig dives in front of his dad, sacrificing himself to save the Maestro. Tray then shoots Virgil, wounding him and taking him in custody. The Ambassador recognizes Virgil as a former employee they fired for embezzlement. At the end of the strip, the Maestro performs with the Ringtones in a special rock concert in memory of his son.