From the Journal of Detective Richard Darby
"January 1st, 1954 - Same as 1953, the war with the Germans still simmers under the surface. A peace treaty keeps the common folk in the dark while our streets run amok with new German "immigrants" every day. Peace with the East has been more profitable,they give us robots for the production lines, we give them our hovering cars and computers. Our newest creations, man-like robots, called Androids, starting walking the streets last year. Started out as just labor, same with the robots from before, but some androids have taken to owning themselves. Have been met with certain... resistance. Licenses to operate independently are required by law, and bigots of all creeds finding themselves on equal grounds to hate them. Funny that white and black man would unite in hating the steel man.
Leaps and bounds in science with atomic power and diesel fuels astound every day, unfortunately the military does just the same, new weapons developed every year and we still have those atomic bombs laying around. They say we'll be the first to get a man into space this decade, but you'll just have to call me a skeptic. I'm still getting used to robots and this mechanical leg. I should also make a note to get a tune-up, it makes a dreadful amount of noise in the morning.
Retirement is coming up, Police Chief Robertson is forcing me out. I once thought about traveling abroad once I was done, but if I was too married to work for a second woman, I doubt I could leave well enough alone. Thought about leaving it to my son, Harry. But the man found work as a lawyer. Keeping criminals out of prison. He always blamed me for Mary passing on, so I guess that was his final way of sticking it to me. More power to him, I guess. So I'm using the money to start a licensed private investigation agency. Sergeant Daniels says he'll give me a hand with it, it'll be a couple years before they force him out anyways..."
The Steel Opera takes place in the 1950s, in an alternate time line from the one you know. The Great Depression never happened, World War II never ended. Technological advances that shouldn't have happened yet, have. You're the team that Darby has hired as part of his PI Agency.