Good one about a man looking into his brother’s death. It was judged an accident but he’s sure it was murder.
Steve Lindstrom is back in L.A. after six years. He’s been busy running a string of gyms. His brother Danny was killed in a fire. His former girlfriend Joan is married to a lawyer named Larry Payne. Steve wants him to do some investigating for him.
He finds out Danny worked for a local mobster and then as a bodyguard for a judge. Danny has been in trouble including an assault charge. The mobster he worked for is Fritz Heiner.
Steve calls on Herman Weber. He was one of Danny’s best friends. He owns a gym. He’s afraid of Steve because he’s a big guy and has a couple wrestlers he refers to as beef standing by. One of them, Retke, is a total wiseguy and wants to mix it up with Steve. He does. Bad move.
Steve visits Judge Davidson and finds out a little about Danny but has to leave early. The Judge’s deranged wife is acting up on the floor above.
Later at his hotel Steve runs into Helene, a girlfriend of Danny’s. She says she’ll visit some of Danny’s spots with him. She’ll be right back. She’s isn’t. Steve sees her out cold in an alley by the hotel. He knows she was sent to set him up.
He gets into a car with Fritz and his boys. Fritz wants him to back off the investigation and even offers to pay to get him to stop. He says the VIP he works for doesn’t like it. Steve refuses. Some of the boys, lead pipes in hand, work him over and leave him laying. Helene refuses to accept any money from Fritz for getting Steve for him. She never expected he’d be worked over. She also didn’t expect Retke to knock her out.
Fritz hires professional killer Marty Straanker to take care of Steve. His specialty is creating accidents. Steve spends the night with Helene and a suspicious fire breaks out. Steve has had it. The time for civilized behavior is over.
This is a good hardboiled 50’s crime novel that fans of the genre will really like. I know I did.
Now…flip it over for a story about gypsies in Miami, a valuable crown and cross and an airline detective.
Tom Shana is a detecive for Global Airlines. They received a bad check and his job is to run it down. The forged signature was from a rich Gypsy family. When Tom drops by he runs into Spike Groffo and his son Van. Spike likes to wrestle so he and Tom go for a couple falls.
Fun’s over. Spike says they’ll make the check good. Spike’s daughter Peggy is quite a distraction and as cold as ice. All of a sudden they all hear her screaming from the house. Everyone runs in. A valuable box has been stolen. Inside are a jeweled crown and cross. Spike hires Tom to get it back.
He traces it to another Gypsy family headed by Mitch Magill. Using a clever ruse he gets everyone out of the house. He discovers the stolen box and grabs it and takes off. Mitch’s sixteen year old nephew Johnny was quick enough to get Tom’s license number.
One night Tom goes home and discovers Mitch’s dead body in his living room. With the help of his sister Betty he gets rid of the body.
Along the way he makes friends with Johnny. Tom’s boss has his eyes on the cross and crown. He and Spike were involved in a shady land development deal. Turns out the jewlery came from a man in England and Scotland Yard comes to Miami to investigate.
A number of different plot lines show up as the book moves along, including Tom getting fired and under suspicion for Mitch’s murder. There’s also a scenerio about the new King of the Gypsies who most likely will be Spike.
The book is okay. To me it’s seems an edge was missing that keeps it out of the hard boiled class. The other half of this Ace Double was that good that I didn’t mind this close to bland story attached to it.