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The pretty-boy movie star. The fat producer. The buxom blackmailer. The grubby undertaker. These four people never would have associated with one another runder ordinary circumstances. But they were drawn together in a shady swindle that promised to net a handsome profit. It was a neat little deal and everything worked out exactly as planned--until private eye Johnny Liddell showed up on the scene. That was the day the movie star was murdered. He made a pretty corpse. The first of four.
When Private Eye Johnny Liddell moves his base of operations to Hollywood, he uncovers more dirt than a gossip columnist on a party line. First there's a movie mogul's adopted son, with plenty of money, but living in constant fear of death. Then there's a bevy of beauties, all connected with the unlucky lad, but perfectly willing to play the scene with Johnny as well. Then there's murder - raw and ugly - that forces Liddell to walk the tightrope between the killers and the cops. It all adds up to another fast, smooth job by Frank Kane.
She was as pretty a mantrap as Liddell had ever set up. Five-feet-six. Black hair. One hundred and twenty-eight lusciously distributed pounds. Very, very nice . . . Liddell looked at his watch. The rackets boss was late in coming. Liddell didn't mind. Let Frankie Capolla be as late as he wanted. Liddell knew a very good way of passing the time . . .
He stood in the doorway to the kitchen, his arms above his head, his long, bony fingers curled like claws. His teeth were bared in a horrible fixed grin, his eyes stared unblinkingly. Two thin wires suspended each of his thumbs to a corner of the door frame ... mute evidence that his death had neither been quick or merciful.
ONE-The redheaded secretary lay crumpled on the office floor, her blouse ripped to the waist. Blood trickled from her mouth.TWO-The redheaded divorcee sprawled across the bed, the black silk sheet baring her lovely body - and her gaping throat.THREE-The black-haired B-girl lay broken across the steering wheel of the bomb-shattered car. Her open eyes stared sightlessly at the tilted floor.AND OUT!Each had walked into a trap meant for private eye Johnny Liddell, set by the crime syndicate out to get him. Each was a score Johnny had to settle - if he could live long enough to see the end of three brutal bouts with murder!
She was a gorgeous - and mysterious - girl from New York, who had taken a low-paying job in a small-town night club.When they fished her out of the local river she had nothing on. It didn't matter. She was past caring.Johnny Liddell cared, though. The girl was his client and it didn't make sense. Why would she strip, pile her clothes neatly on the pier, and then take the plunge?A waste, Liddell thought mournfully. A great waste.Then he cheered up. Any case that began with a killer and a naked woman was bound to produce more of the same . . .
A gorgeous gal with an insatiable appetite for love . . .A gossip columnist who scooped the world with his own obituary . . .An innocent young girl forced into a degrading racket . . .Plus other assorted chacters involved in mayhem and murder, in a collection of sizzling stories featuring Johnny Liddell, the wise-cracking, free-wheeling, quick-fisted private detective with the nasty habit the mobsters hate - he keeps on breathing!
The womans body undulated. Her motions became frantic. Wildly, she tore off her clothes . . . The others followed. Nude, danced to the frenzied drum . . . This was New Orleans. Johnny Liddell was no tourist. He had come here to investigate a disappearance. The beating he got by a goon squad, the double-cross from a gorgeous blonde, and the session as target for someones shooting practice-werent exactly like being handed the keys to the city. But before he was through, Johnnys tour of the town led him through a ring of blackmail, murder, and the forced prostitution of some of the most beautiful society women in the city.
She called herself Denny Lyons ... and she was everything men dreamed of on long, lonely nights ...She had it all, from the white-gold hair that framed her expensive face to the graceful, slender ankles--and all those pleasant extras in-between ...She had everything - including big ideas. She was headed straight for the top and she thought she knew just how to get there ...But she had made one mistake - and someone thought that was one too many...
A case of corpses.They piled up so fast that private eye Johnny Liddell figured he was ahead if he found them while they were still warm.It started when he was hired as a baby-sitter to a wildcat. She was blonde and beautiful, and stacked better than a deck of marked cards. And she had a cool $200,000 worth of hot diamonds.There was just one hitch. She used bourbon instead of perfume.
"Kiely of the Dispatch, Liddell. A reporter of mine, Larry Jansen, had been murdered. I want you to find the killer.""Okay," Liddell sighed into the phone, replacing the receiver. He stared into the slanted green eyes of the girl, patter her on the knee, and sighed again, "Don't go away. I'll be right back."But several murders - a trip to Vegas - assorted racketeers - and a couple of dolls - kept Johnny a little longer than he expected.It started with murder - but that was only the beginning . . .
Johnny Liddell was looking forward to his 2:30 a. m. date with Eve Wylie. Eve had thick red hair that fell down over her shoulders like a molten copper cascade, and Eve had a sullen soft-looking mouth that held more than a casual promise for Johnny Liddell. So when he got to her apartment, and found the date was off, it came as an unpleasant shock. Not that it was Eves fault. There was very little a girl, with her throat cut from ear to ear, could do about a broken date.
Trouble is a redheadLydia had a problem, and she dumped it right in Johnny Liddell's lap, along with her own million dollar body. She was very luscious - but somebody had something on her that was very ugly, and even more expensive.Johnny told her not to pay off the blackmailers. Dollars to doomsday, she would just be buying her own corpse on the installment plan. And after one good look at all of Lydia, Johnny definitely wanted her alive and warm . . .
It wasn't his case . . . his girl . . . or his problem . . . but Johnny Liddell had a personal interest in this little caper.He didn't ask to be the Feds' ''receiver'' on a pass of inside info on the smuggling racket, but he was. He didn't ask to have a couple of hoods beat the living daylights out of him to get the info back, but they did. As a matter of fact, for the first time in his life, Johnny Liddell wasn't asking for trouble.But when a lovely doll invited him to see her later, and murder turned later into never again, Johnny asked in - in to the bloody end.
Johnny Liddell, private investigator, is not accustomed to a quiet life. But life was never less quiet for him than after he was called in by Celeste Pierce, a redhead who is giving several famous bosomy blondes a run for their money. Everything was going swimmingly for Celeste until she was blackmailed by Bare Facts, a magazine which had some bare facts about Celeste from her girl-in-the-pie period. She is willing to pay for pictures and films, and Johnny sets off to get them back.Unfortunately for Johnny's peace of mind, impetuous Celeste goes off herself to see Murray Carter, the unattractive publisher of the unattractive periodical. The next day she is found dead in his apartment, and someone has obviously lent a helping hand since there is a bullet hole in the back of his skull. Johnny is given forty-eight hours and a free hand by the police to check on other blackmailers of Bare Facts. His search leads him everywhere from a Harlem dope joint to a boxers' hangout, with trouble all the way. He finally solves the riddle, no thanks to anybody but himself.
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