Some people are convinced that Private Eye Thanet Blake is a social pariah. Others believe having contact with him insures them of having a short life. A few are convinced he works for the city’s mortuaries and drives a hearse.
When Captain Holt of the Police Department informs Blake that PI’s are being offed by an unknown person, he asks Blake for help. “We don’t have a single clue as to who is doing the offing. We need your help to do some nosing around for us, come up with clues that will lead us to the perp. I’ll even put you on the payroll.”
That starts another murder mystery for Thanet Blake, the shamus who hates murder cases because too many of his friends end up dead, or forever hurt. Who will he lose this time?
An hour later, over bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee for the both of us, Jennifer began talking. “Thanet, you’ve been on my mind since I helped you solve The Ferguson Murder.”
I gagged on my coffee over that one. She reached over and tapped my left shoulder. “Don’t worry. I didn’t mean it that way. You’re too old for me. I am nineteen. Do you know I’ve been following you for days?”
“No, I didn’t know. You’re kidding me, aren’t you?”
“Here you are, a private eye, and you don’t know when you’re being tailed? How come, when this city is being quickly emptied of people of your profession?”
I smiled at her before saying, “You’re right. Thanks for calling what I do a profession, by the way. Now, Jennifer, why are you sitting across the breakfast table from me, and do your mother and father know you’re here? If they do, how good of a shot is your father?”
“My parents think I’m downtown shopping and Father’s an expert shot with his Mauser Broomhandle. As to why I’m here, I’m doing research work for my third detective novel I’ve titled, The Inept Detective. It’s going to be about a private eye that knows nothing about solving murder cases. He’s always about ready to be offed by some bad guy. He can’t shoot, knows nothing about detection…in fact, he couldn’t even apprehend a cold. Oh, and everybody around him gets offed, which is handy for him simply because if there is only one person left alive, then that person is the guilty person. That’s the plot. What do you think? Do you like it?”
“It sounds great, Jennifer, and also a little familiar. How did you think of the title?”
“It just popped into my head one night, shortly after I did that computer work for you. Are you sure it sounds familiar? Gee, I thought it was an original idea.”
She finished her coffee. I poured seconds for both of us and stared at the kid sitting across the table from me. She wasn’t more than five feet tall, ninety-five pounds dripping wet, and with an intelligence quotient that had to be up there in lights. She was terrific.
“The police hired you to look into the private detective offings. Never mind how I found out they had, just tell me about it.”
It took two full hours. Jennifer asked a million questions and wanted every minute detail. She suggested I write some things down. I did. As a result, we drank lots of coffee and even had a light lunch.
“You’re obviously missing some vital clues, Thanet. Think through everything again.” She kissed my cheek and left.
I did a lot of thinking while driving to my office. As I parked the old ‘56 Ford in the parking lot, my brain was busy lining up what I thought might be clues. As I walked the six blocks to my home away from home, things were beginning to make sense. As I opened my squeaking office door, I knew the offer’s identity for about two seconds before someone sapped me on the head.
I don’t know how long I was out, but I do know it was long enough for me to be stripped naked, draped flat on my desktop with my hands and feet tied to the desk’s legs. A scent of perfume invaded my nostrils, one I recognized. I opened my peepers and saw a completely naked Dusty. She was holding two silver-plated, ivory-handled, engraved Colt .45 automatics and wearing three inch stiletto shoes. She was gorgeous—and deadly.