Tiger By The Tail-James Hadley Chase (1954)

james hadley chase-tiger by the tail

Another good one from Chase. Ken Holland is head teller at a bank. His wife has been out of town visiting her ill mother for five weeks. His fellow teller Parker insists he have a night out. Ken says he really should stay home and mow the lawn. He should have listened to his own advice.

Parker gives Ken the number of a hooker he visits when he wants to get away from his wife. Ken finally gives in and calls her. She’s Fay Carson. She used to be part of a dance act at a nightclub until her partner chased after another woman and broke up the act. She tells him to park his car in a  lot down the street from her place. When he gets there a nosy neighbor named Raphael Sweeting is on the inside steps. He lives there with his little dog Leo.

Ken and Fay head to the club where she used to work and they have a good time. One glitch is the entrance of the knockout Gilda Dorman. She’s the woman that broke up the act. They don’t speak to each other. Fay convinces Ken to stay at her place. She heads for the bedroom while he shyly waits in the living room. The lights go out. He hears someone go past him and out the door. He calls Fay. No answer. He investigates. Someone stabbed her to death with an ice pick. Now he has to cover his tracks in the apartment and the parking lot. On the way out he runs into Sweeting again and another resident. It finally dawns on him that the place is mostly populated by call girls.

He discovers blood stains on his suit and shoes. He does some fast thinking to get rid of them. At the bank Parker says he looks wan and must have had a wild night. Ken denies seeing Fay. Parker goes to call her and a cop answers. Ken has to tell him what happened. Later at Ken’s house the cops show up.

Life isn’t easy for Sgt.Donovan. His boss is Lt.Adams. Everyone on the force hates the boss. To make things worse, the commissioner is in the pocket of Sean O’Brien. He runs the town. He also keeps a low profile since he’s a drug dealer whose gang is behind bars in France. Sean is Gilda’s fiancee. One big problem he has is her useless brother Johnny who just came out of a mental home after a year. He was put there after beating up Fay, his then girlfriend.

Chase ties all these elements together in one of his better crime stories. He has over ninety books out and if you’ve never read him, this would be a good start. You’ll probably hunt for more.




About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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