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Fifteen minutes after Arab Blake joined her husband Andy in Washington, she managed to get him conked into insensibility. And the moment he rose from the sidewalk he found himself entangled in a spine-tingling spyhunt! The trail led to the strange house on Q Street from which War Department workers vanished into thin air. It took Andy to a barricaded cellar from which he escaped by pretending to be a corpse. And it brought him finally to a secret radio sending station on a deserted strip of New Jersey coast, where anything could happen-and plenty did! As usual, the lid is off whenever lovely Arab Blake is on the loose. And in All Over But the Shooting-a riotous mystery novel if ever there was one-Arab actually surpasses her past achievements!
''When my wife Arabella and I decided to take our summer vacation in Florida, I dreamed of lying under a coconut palm sipping a cool drink while Arab lovingly fanned a breeze my way. I have had dreams of that type before and something always goes wrong. Four years of being married to Arab should have taught me that. Whenever my lovely blond wife decides to stir up a breeze for my benefit, it is time for the Coast Guard to run up two square flags, red with black centers, one flying above the other. They tell me that's the signal for a hurricane.''Thus wrote Andy Blake, wistfully, at the start of his Florida vacation. Readers who have followed his adventures through the years of his tempestuous and almost fatal marriage with Arab could have told him at once. True, there was nothing more lethal on the landscape than sunlit palm trees, a lazy river, and Andy. No spies, guns, corpses, or blood stains. But there was Arab.She began innocently enough-with fish. Even Arab couldn't have known that it would end with Andy, as bait, hanging off the end of a line while sharks nipped at his heels, and the gleam of a fish spear prodding through the dark water for his body. Had She But Known-she would have gone right ahead. It seemed so inevitable to Arab. First, the deserted green houseboat hidden in a tiny cove. Arab was sure she had seen a woman's face at the window, and Arab was obviously not the type to leave well enough alone. Investigation was called for, said Arab.It was not called for, said Andy. They investigated. So they found the girl, Sherry, with the red marks on her wrists and ankles, and the wild explanations that differed every time she told them.Then along came Georgia Wood and Chuck Holley and the gay fishing trip when Georgia almost drowned although she was an expert swimmer. And Harry Fink, an expert fish spearer, who began to take a great interest in the Blakes, an interest that extended to skulking around dark corners brandishing guns.''Now,'' Arab said, her eyes sparkling, ''we're getting somewhere.''
Antique dealer Andy Blake and his sharpshooting wife Arab stumble across a faux antique chair - and end up tangling with Nazi-obsessed millionaire, a gregarious gunman, a rival antique dealer, and bombshell blonde.
What you're starting to read now is called a jacket blurb. Its purpose is to tell you enough about the book to steam you up into reading it. Jacket blurbs are usually written by publishers, and sometimes they fib a little about how wonderful the book is.But this time the publisher asked me, the author, to write the blurb. I suppose that, after publishing nine other Powell novels, Simon and Schuster feel I ought to do my own exaggerating for a change. So let's get that over with: "This is a magnificent book and you'll love every word of it." Now we can relax.This is a mystery novel. The hero is a young Philadelphia art dealer who gets mixed up in dirty work in the field of art collecting. Maybe I shouldn't call him a hero. If he ever did have the usual mystery story hero's nerves of steel and muscles of iron, they certainly got badly rusted. He's slow and cautious. In fact the guy admits that, in the great race of life, he's just along for the walk. He gets scared in tough spots. I felt sorry about shoving him into so much trouble, even though I did give him a jet-propelled blonde heroine as a sort of workmen's compensation for his injuries. Still and all, there are easier ways of winning a pretty blonde than by battling strong-arm guys, gunmen and a murderer, and I think my hero would have preferred them. I know I would.This story took a lot of research. I read stacks of art books, and talked to artists and dealers. I prowled through museums peering at famous paintings through a magnifying glass. My new knowledge even impresses my artist friends, and it's mighty hard for a writer to impress an artist. To most artists, a writer is a vandal who takes white space that could be used for pictures and clutters it up with words.I've tried to get some of the flavor of Philadelphia into the book. That's an elusive thing to pin down in words, but here's an example of what Philadelphia is like. In most cities, if you owned a valuable old Chippendale chair, you would call everyone's attention to your prize. In Philadelphia, you would sit in it.I hope you like the book. Don't try to please me by saying you stayed up after midnight finishing it, though. It never seems fair to me that people can read in just a few hours something that took me a year to write.--Richard Powell
Andy Blake is no sooner married to Arab that he realizes his home is not a love nest but an arsenal. True, the fragile, blonde Arabella had won prizes only in shotgun contests, but she didn't discriminate against rifles and pistols. As Andy wistfully says, ''The worst thing about Arab's guns is that they come in handy. She can track down trouble the way a detector spots land mines.''Andy and Arab are plunged into this bang-up mystery when they attend an auction sale where a pistol starts a bidding contest between two oddly assorted customers. Andy, who also knows his guns, is sure that the pistol isn't worth more than thirty bucks. He is therefore both flabbergasted and interested to hear the bidding skyrocket to two hundred dollars, especially since one of the bidders is a red-head whose legs he finds the most interesting exhibit at the auction.As Andy and Arab leave the auction he idly says to her, ''The person who bought that rod make a down payment on a time bomb. That red-head wasn't bidding in the hundreds just to stimulate interest in the auction in general. I got a hunch the new owner will meet a lot of unpleasant people. Who bought the thing?''Taking his arm, Arab answered happily, ''I did.''
Perhaps only a temporary separation from Arab and Andy? For this, along the Kelland peace-at-any-price-hero formula tells of Pete Cameron's attempts to learn the truth about the loss of his father's resort at Redfish Bay. But supersmart, impetuous Joan leads him into unwanted, active trouble, immediate danger and the solution of a killing. High spirited, high jinks in Florida.
Bill Stuart is vacationing in Florida, collecting shells, when one evening he stumbles upon a beautiful young woman hiding under a fishing pier on a deserted beach. Undaunted by her cock-eyed story, he offers her a lift into town. Valerie agrees if she can drive. When she discovers they are being followed by a gray sedan, Valerie breaks every law to shake them; and just as mysteriously does a quick disappearing act when they arrive at the bus station. The local chief of police isn't interested in tracking his missing person, so Bill heads back to the beach to retrace Valerie's footsteps-which just happed to lead to a cabin that is occupied by the body of a very recently murdered man!
Andy Blake's idea of a pleasant evening was to stretch out in a deck chair, wriggle his feet into a pair of old slippers, and sip an old-fashioned. For this recipe he had, unfortunately, one too many ingredients: his wife, Arab.Arab's idea of fun and games was to be shot out of cannons, to participate in mob massacres, or to explore haunted houses. Any menace lurking within ten miles of Arab didn't stand a chance of getting along without her.It was therefore inevitable that the Blakes should go out for an evening stroll in their quiet Washington suburb, and wind up a couple days later securely tied to a bedpost in a burning building.In the interval they are shot at, stabbed at, garroted at, and made uncomfortable in a variety of rather unusual ways. They find a priceless Renaissance pendant, a young man who is a genius at both silver-smithing and murder, and a foreigner who does nothing all day but converse with a phonograph.In other words, Shoot If You Must displays the Blakes at top form--with Arab, as usual, sticking her nose into other people's business (and a very nasty business it is!), and Andy preventing it from being shot off her face by the greatest exhibition of reluctant bravery on record. As Andy says: "The gun hasn't been made that can hit me. I shake so much nobody can figure where to aim."Readers shake too, at the most wonderful combination of wit and wickedness since they last met Arab and Andy in Don't Catch Me, All Over But the Shooting, and Lay That Pistol Down.
Johnny Edwards is fishing when he gets Tony's letter from Cuba. Tony is in trouble and urgently needs Johnny down in Havana. But Johnny stalls-ashamed to admit to his former war buddy that he has been living a life of indifferent ease and indulgence-and when he does arrive, he finds Tony has just been murdered. His boredom replaced with thoughts of revenge, Johnny decides to try and find the murderer himself. And that's when he runs into Ellen McCarter-trim, slim, with sun-streaked hair-a helluva distraction. But not enough to sidetrack Johnny, who continues to follow the murderer's trail up to Fort Myers, Florida...where the first person he runs into is slim, trim Ellen!
From the book jacket: Thirty-two hundred years ago, the people of a shining civilization apparently set out to prove the truth of the saying that whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad The civilization was the long-forgotten one that is now called Mycenaean. The madness that destroyed it was the Trojan War. Richard Powell has gone back to this fabled period to write a big and colorful and lovingly-researched novel of its people and events. His central character is Helios, a kitchen boy in the palace at Troy, who may or may not be a bastard son of Priam, the High King. The story begins two years before the Trojan War, when Helios is eight, and carries him through boyhood and adolescence until he reaches manhood on the terrible night when Troy falls. His search for an identity, for knowledge, and for friendship and love, weaves in and out of the great events sung by the Homeric bards, giving a new perspective and depth to them. One of the author's aims in writing this book was to introduce modern readers to the golden people of the Iliad and Odyssey and Aeneid. Nearly all of them are here--Achilles and Odysseus, Agamemnon and Menelaus, Hector, Paris, Helen, Great Ajax and Little Ajax, Cassandra, Aeneas--and they are depicted from a fresh viewpoint. Is Achilles, for example, simply the overpowering hero of legend, or is he a more complicated person touched with manic-depressive insanity? Does the saying "Wise as Nestor" properly describe that ruler, or did the Homeric bards mean to show him as a talkative and comic fool? Is Agamemnon a great and tragic king, or one of history's worst blunderers? What motivated Helen of Troy and accounted for her strange power over men? The answers to these and other questions are part of the rich fabric of the story. As recently as a few decades ago a book such as this could not have been written, because there were huge gaps in our knowledge of Mycenaean civilization. For example, no one even knew whether or not the people of Mycenaean times had a system of writing. In the past twenty-five years, however, a mass of information has come to light, and Powell has studied it thoroughly. As part of his research he visited every major museum in the Aegean area, and went to all the digs-Troy, Mycenae, Pylos, Tiryns, Knossos-where Schliemann and Dorpfeld and Sir Arthur Evans and Blegen and other great archeologists uncovered the secrets of the past.
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