|About the Book|
Murder, Suicide, and Blackmail combine in this super-tough Mystery!An excerpt from introductory:It was almost 10 a.m. and starting to warm up as I walked slowly down the main street, stopping every few minutes to rest my light bag. Its the kind ofMoreMurder, Suicide, and Blackmail combine in this super-tough Mystery!An excerpt from introductory:It was almost 10 a.m. and starting to warm up as I walked slowly down the main street, stopping every few minutes to rest my light bag. Its the kind of a street you think about a lot when youre out of town ... and then return and wonder why the hell you ever looked forward to seeing it again. I took in the skyscrapers, the movie houses, the gin mills, the bookie joints that passed as cigar stores, the radio-station tower that disappeared into the blue sky, a modern monument to nothing.I watched the people hurrying by, the crowded restaurants and orangeade stands, the heavy traffic - and I knew the street didnt mean a thing to me any more. I suppose in the hospital Id thought about it so often because it had been a dream then, a symbol of living. Now, as I looked up and down the busy street - this street that had been a big part of my life - all I could think was, where had I got it? In what bar or eating place or movie had somebody breathed deeply and given me the damn bug?There were lots of places I could have gone to but I didnt have anyplace to go to, so I dropped into the Baker, the best hotel in town. I had less than seventy bucks and this was strictly a lush spot, but after eleven months of hospital beds, I wanted a little luxury for a few nights.As I walked across the impressive lobby, Abe Berg, the house dick, came toward me like a wobbly tank. Abe was a rough joker, once he got his mitts on you. Hed been a professional wrestler and his face had been stepped on a couple of times - and put together again carelessly. Some guys get by on their size, or rough talk - Abe got by on his face. He said in a shrill voice, Matt Ranzino! You big bastard, heard you were the hero of that mess in Korea!I was there, I said, turning my head to avoid his breath as we pumped hands.On a case here? Abe asked, then being a real bright detective he noticed my bag, added, Staying here? I can get you the professional rate - 40 per cent off.Im on nothing. Just got into town. Thought Id put up here for a few days.Ill fix you up with the desk.Thanks.He banged me on the shoulder with one of his meat-hooks, and I thought I was going to fall over. I let go of his hand, stepped back out of his reach as he said, Boy, you look in top shape. Whatcha weigh?Two hundred ... and five and a half ounces.And hard as that old brick house, he said, trying to slap me in the guts with his heavy left hand. I pushed that aside, said, Take it slow, Abe, I ... eh ... ate a minute ago.Sure. Stop in my office for a hooker?Too early.We went over to the desk clerk, who looked as though he just had the cellophane unwrapped from him. Abe introduced me as a buddy-buddy and whispered something into the clerks ear and it must have been good - I only had to pay three bucks for a room and bath. I wanted to go up and lay down for a while, but Abe wanted to talk. He told the clerk, Matt here was the toughest private dick in town.Well, well, the clerk said in a deadpan voice that must be an occupational disease with hotel clerks.When originally published this was an original novel, not a reprint.