Newly rich, married, and bored, Brock investigates an upper-class tragedyPrivate detective Brock Callahan, onetime star of the Los Angeles Rams, is racing toward a touchdown when the morgue's phone call wakes him up. His only rich relative, Uncle Homer, has just flown through the windshield of his midlife-crisis Ferrari, and Brock will never have to work again. The private detective hangs up his license, marries his longtime girlfriend, and decamps for the California hills--where he finds life among the nouveau riche to be duller than he ever imagined. However, there is one old lady--the quick-witted Maude Marner--who charms the old jock. But the day after she drops hints that she might have some work for him, she is found dead, having choked to death on her car's exhaust in a gruesome apparent suicide. As Brock digs into the dark corners of upper-crust suburbia, he finds that no matter how you dress it up, murder is always déclassé.
Tuesday, he looked down on the body of a Mexican girl who'd been clubbed to death with a spade . . . Thursday, he took the examination for lieutenant and had a lot of trouble with it . . . Friday, his aunt died and left him more money than he bothered to count . . . Then Joe Burke, a sergeant out of Central Homicide, Los Angeles, turned in his badge. He bought a house, a car, good liquor, and even went in for amateur theater - just in time for a bloody off-stage killing. Joe found himself back on the homicide detail, unofficially this time, in a case that was to teach him more about ruthless murder - and about women - than he had learned in a dozen years on the force.
Lee Kaprelian, the son of an Armenian rug merchant, unwittingly gets involved into a murder plot by a woman no less beautiful than she is mysterious.
While tangling with radicals, Brock stumbles on a colleague's corpseBrock Callahan, ex-private investigator, is still not used to wealth and retirement. In fact he is struggling through a game of golf when the clubhouse calls with the curious news that his wife is in jail, pulled in at an anti-nuclear protest. Callahan hires Joe Puma, private detective and onetime peer, to post bail for the budding radical. A few days later, Puma is dead, and Brock begins to wonder where the student movement's shadowy roots lie. The agitators want to stop the proposed Mirage Point reactor, which sits at the intersection of mob money, corrupt utilities, and the violent rage of the radical fringe. And as Callahan knows all too well, California doesn't run on nuclear energy; the state is powered by the dirtiest fuel there is--old-fashioned, murderous greed.
Some men were sewing a body into canvas. It was on the deck of a ship. There was a big seam up the middle of the canvas, and now only the face was still uncovered . . . ''You want to take a last look, champ?'' one of the men asked. ''We're about ready to dump him.'' The fighter bent to see in the moonlight. The face in the canvas was his own . . . The fighter was Luke Pilgrim, middleweight champion of the world. Luke could handle any man in the ring. He also could handle the hoods who were trying to muscle in on his next fight . . . But there was one thing he couldn't handle - and that was murder . . .
To hit Brock where it hurts the most, a vengeful stranger targets the people he lovesIt starts with the dead cat. Ex-private investigator Brock Callahan finds the Siamese by his mailbox, its throat cut, and assumes it is a message from some crook he put away long ago. Soon a letter arrives--"The cat was first. Who is second?"--and Brock knows the threat is no joke. He hires his protégé, the ambitious young detective Corey Raleigh, to help him guard his wife and housekeeper, but Corey has troubles of his own. The kid detective is about to get an inside look at the workings of criminal justice. The cops find Corey not far from Brock's house--half-conscious with a gun in his hand and a dead man at his feet. It's an obvious frame-up, but to clear Corey's name Brock will have to find the real killer, and lock him away before his wife meets the same fate as the unfortunate Siamese.
A singer is missing, and the man looking for her is about to find troubleMortimer Jones drives a Duesenberg, a behemoth of a car that seems to come from another era. Jones is the same way. In a city of tough guys, Jones has a soft touch. In a town of loudmouths, he is the rare PI who knows how to stay mum. When Flame Harlin goes missing, her aunt trusts no one but Jones to find her. Flame is a nightclub singer, with looks to spare and a smidgen of talent, and some of the town's deadliest men are hooked on her charm. Loving Flame Harlin is dangerous--and looking for her may be too.When another PI on the same case is killed, Jones gets cautious. Whether dead or alive, Flame Harlin does not want to be found.
Brock gets caught in a dangerous triangle between a jockey, a mobster, and L.A.'s finest blondeGloria Malone is a big woman with a little husband, and a problem only Brock Callahan can solve. Her jockey beau, Tip, has fallen in with a half-reformed gangster, and Gloria fears trouble for the pint-sized horseman. But as Brock quickly finds, L.A.'s criminals have more to fear from Tip than he does from them. The short man has a long mean streak, a girl on the side, and a couple of illegitimate children to boot. Even his horses don't like him. Brock isn't surprised when someone decides to end the little gremlin's racing career once and for all--with a carving knife. The world of horse racing is buried under a layer of grime that's thicker than the Santa Anita racetrack's mud after a thunderstorm. To penetrate it, Brock will have to take the whip into his own hand and do whatever it takes to stay on the horse.
Now who would kill a used-car salesman? In a city like L.A., Brock Callahan figures there's about a million suspects--each with a motive.Nevertheless, the former gridiron star turned private eye is hired by the widow to find out just who killed the one and only Loony Leo Dunbar. It seems someone offed the king of the dubious deal as he was sitting in the front seat of his Lincoln. And now Brock "the Rock" is looking for Loony Leo's killer. It's not easy work; Brock's got to go through a bevy of Leo's girlfriends and seedy associates on a trail that leads into the sleaziest side of the used-car business he's ever seen ...
Brock Callahan doesn't have many fans left from his glory days on the gridiron. As a matter of fact, Warren Temple Lund III may be the last one. So how can Callahan refuse his request for help? It doesn't matter that Warren is not quite twelve with assets totaling thirty-two dollars.Callahan may have a soft spot for kids, but when he sets out to find his client's missing father, things get nasty indeed. Nobody - not the local police, the rich mother, nor her live-in-love - wants Callahan mixing in. And if he doesn't watch his step, Callahan may find himself in a county morgue with a tag tied to his big toe . . .
Brock Callahan, ex guard for the L.A. Rams is now a tough private eye, weighing in at 220 pounds with a passion for Einlicher beer. In Day of the Ram Callahan becomes involved with Johnny Quirk, ace quarterback of his old team, the Rams. Quirk fears he is being blackmailed by "The Syndicate" into fixing the games and when Quirk turns up in the morgue, Callahan moves in to find his client's killer.
So it's come to this. Brock "the Rock" Callahan, former gridiron star turned private eye - peeping in bedroom windows. It's a dirty job, and not the kind Brock would normally take on. If he had a choice.But an old teammate asked him for a favor: following a stray wife. And what begins as a dirty job, gets worse, much worse. Brock becomes a hunted man -- and the prime suspect in a savage murder.
In his final case, Brock investigates the murder of his troubled college roommateMaybe Mike Gregory was too smart for football. When he and Brock Callahan roomed together at Stanford University, Mike was a second-stringer with the skill to go pro. But he squandered his talent and drifted after college, briefly working as a stockbroker before descending down society's ladder, becoming a drunk, then an addict, and finally a snitch. The police aren't surprised when they find him in Santa Monica, face blown off with a sawed-off shotgun, but Brock is puzzled. Even at his lowest, Mike was too smart to go out like that. Though he's been retired for years, Brock's investigative instincts kick in at Mike's funeral. As he plumbs the depths of his old friend's broken life, he uncovers a toxic cocktail of cultists, mobsters, and corrupt law enforcement. Caught in the middle, this unlucky snitch had nowhere to turn.
Brock's boyhood idol moves in next door before vanishing and leaving a body in his wakeIn Hollywood's golden age, there was no finer swashbuckler than Fortney Grange. Decades after he last swung on a chandelier, Grange is nearly forgotten, his legacy surviving only in fuzzy black-and-white on the late-late movie channel. But to Brock Callahan, Grange remains a hero. When his idol shacks up with the aged widow next door, the ex-private investigator is starstruck. It takes a murder for the celluloid sheen to begin to fade. A strange pair of Arizona blackmailers takes up residence in a van outside Grange's house. Grange and his new lady friend disappear, and a few days later, his agent is found dead. Though it breaks his heart, Callahan is forced to investigate the man who has given him so much joy. And it will take more than swordplay for this aging daredevil to escape the chair.
Brock finds a case that's too juicy to refuseBrock Callahan was still playing for the Los Angeles Rams when Alan Arthur Baker first conned him. Masquerading as an investment banker, Baker talked the hapless jock out of $5,000, returning it only when Brock threatened to snap his back in half. Years later, Brock is a retired private detective living in the splendor of the Los Angeles suburbs, and Baker needs help tailing his wife, a high-priced call girl who may be in danger. The old grifter is as crooked as they come, but too charming for Brock to say no. Brock puts protégé Corey Raleigh on the case, but can't help keeping an eye on the investigation. When the boy detective runs into trouble, Brock throws himself into the middle of a mystery involving a retired palooka, a brutal heiress, and the famous estate of one of the richest men California has ever known.
With the motion picture industry in crisis, things were so tough for independent director Steve Leander that he was put to it to maintain his mortgage, his swimming pool and his attractive young wife. So, reluctantly, he agreed to direct a picture for Harry Bergdahl, a producer who never lost money on his pix but never got any Oscars either. Then came this insurance investigator Tomkevic with some sinister inquiries about an insurance fix on Bergdahl's lead, Hart Jameson. Soon after, Jameson, a Marlon Brando type, crashed over a cliff on the Coast Highway in his Jaguar, and was killed.Steve was the man who knew too much. He was hounded by a private eye, mistrusted by his wife, stymied by Bergdahl's slippery financing, and stricken by his own indiscretions. One of the latter, a torrid beauty named Pat Cullum, was fatally stabbed, after some strange revelations about the dead star.As events developed, Leander was on an even hotter spot with the police breathing down his neck; his position made more risky because of others he felt in conscience he must protect. How he managed to clear himself and finger the real murderer makes a story true to today's Hollywood conditions. It's tough, but the heart is in the right place.
He was a heel . . . a blue-blood gone bad, a low-brow with class, a bum with an income. He liked low-slung cars and top-heavy girls, and he took his pleasure where he found it. He was the consort of bookies, dope-peddlers, crooks; the buddy of has-beens, tough guys, and junkies. He dreamed the big dream, but played it small . . . free wheeling it down hill all the way, with a crack-up--and murder--at the bottom.Too many slow horses, too many fast women, and finally, one loaded cigarette; and after that . . . trouble: a woman who wouldn't stay, a dead man's face that wouldn't go away, and an alibi that wouldn't stick . . .
One of our call girls is missingIt sounded like a joke, but the old dame was scared stiff when one of her girls didn't show up for work that night. And this one was her prettiest - and most profitable.''Find her, shamus,'' she said. ''And fast!''''My pleasure,'' I said.My name is Joe Puma. I call myself a detective and I get a hundred bucks a day.The girl's name was Jean Talsman. She called herself an entertainer and she got a hundred bucks a night.The job had delightful possibilities - until some joker started making corpses out of the customers, and I found a few dealers in sudden death camped on my own doorstep.
A golf ace on the verge of glory stumbles over a country-club corpseDenny Burke knows that a golfer's best resource isn't a putter or a three iron, but the ability to shut out the rest of the world and focus on the game. Burke has been doing that since he was a kid, rising from poverty to a scholarship at the University of Southern California. After graduation, he takes a job at a country club's pro shop, to rake in easy money while he considers joining the professional tour. It's here that he falls in love with Judy Faulkner, and his ability to ignore the outside world disappears. Burke is hunting for a ball in the rough when he finds Bud Venier, priggish scion of one of the town's wealthiest families, lying dead in the chaparral. As the murder investigation turns the club upside down, Burke doesn't know if his next stop will be on the pro tour, or in the electric chair.
When some strongarm hoods try to muscle in on the fight game, hefty Joe Puma is hired to find out who's doing the dirty work.What looks like a typical rackets murder turns out to be a dangerous deal for the private eye. He tussles with some trigger-happy punks and a couple of lethal beauties.Then in one quick leap from mattress to mat he finds himself in a clinch with a murderer who's still fighting, still hating, still bent . . . on the kill.
The femme was fatalShe was rich, red-haired and ready for anything. Her name was Fidelia and she was a tempting bit of woman even without the three million dollars she was to inherit. Only wherever she went - and she went everywhere - murder seemed to follow.That's how I came into the picture. My name is Joe Puma. I'm a private investigator..She hired me to scare off the wolves. I'm big for my age, handy with my fists and a fool for trouble - especially when it looks at me the way Fidelia did. It wasn't any picnic, though.Three million bucks wrapped in a prize package like Fidelia was powerful bait. Deadly, in fact. But some guys were just too greedy. They wouldn't give up even if it killed them - or me.
Stripped for MurderShe was a night club stripper, a black-haired, white-skinned beauty, an all-out performer few men could resist. When she came on, wolf whistles drowned out the music.And she was the kind of gal who loved her work. Something had to be wrong when she didn't show one night. In fact, she didn't show her face - or anything else - for quite a while.She had good reason to hide. Because she'd beat it from a shady, hot-pillow motel, where the other occupant of her bedroom was a dead man!
Get home early tonight. I have a key I stole last time I was there. Don't keep me waiting.The note was lying on the front seat of my car. It was on an engraved card - scented. Deborah Huntington's.I got mad. Who did she think she was anyway? I didn't bother to answer. I knew damn well who she was. She was rich, spoiled and beautiful - and I was bewitched, bothered and bewildered, and just the thought of her next to me had me to my eyebrows in a sweat of excitement.But she was also a suspect for murder. And I was being paid to find the killer.My good sense kept telling me not to go home early or otherwise. So who needs good sense? You can't take it with you.Night Lady - a smooth, hard blend of hot and cold running maidens, murderers and mayhem starring Joe Puma, William Campbell Gault's greatest gift to private-eye lovers everywhere.
Ex-bookie Tom Spears, framed for the murder of his wife, breaks out of prison and heads for Mexico and freedom. En route, he learns that the lawyer (and friend) who defended him has been murdered. He also discovers that his beloved wife had been unfaithful, that his lawyer friend had been one of her lovers, and that his defense had been deliberately botched. Resolving to unravel the mystery, Spears becomes entangled with his former associates and finds himself caught up in the crossfire between rival gambling syndicates.
A corrupt P.I. will do anything to make a buck and save his own skinJoe Puma didn't kill Albert Target, but he is happy the pimp is dead. A small-time creep whose niche was recruiting wannabe actresses, Target perjured himself for Puma's sake, and the detective was afraid he might decide to talk. The cops know that Puma's crooked, but they can't prove a thing. He's a slick operator with an itchy trigger finger and a flimsy moral code--two things he'll need if his next case is to end as happily as his last. Fallen starlet Jean Roland comes to Puma with a plan to blackmail her lesbian lover's father--a dangerous scheme that would put Puma off if Roland weren't the most stunning woman in Los Angeles. Joe Puma likes money and he likes being alive, but he likes women even more. He'd die for a girl like Jean Roland--but he'd prefer it if someone else died first.