Is there something wrong with you? Do you fail to fit in with your group? Nervous, anxious, ill-at-ease? Happy about it? Lucky you!
"Good day, sir," said Pembroke with an amiable smile. "I see my advertisement has interested you. Please stand in that corner for just a moment."
Opening the desk drawer, which was almost empty, Pembroke removed an automatic pistol fitted with a silencer. Pointing it at the amazed customer, he fired four .22 caliber longs into the narrow chest. Then he made a telephone call and sat down to wait. He wondered how long it would be before his next client would arrive.
* * * * *
The series of events leading up to Pembroke's present occupation had commenced on a dismal, overcast evening in the South Pacific a year earlier. Bound for Sydney, two days out of Valparaiso, the Colombian tramp steamer Elena Mia had encountered a dense greenish fog which seemed vaguely redolent of citrus trees. Standing on the forward deck, Pembroke was one of the first to perceive the peculiar odor and to spot the immense gray hulk wallowing in the murky distance.
Then the explosion had come, from far below the waterline, and the decks were awash with frantic crewmen, officers, and the handful of passengers. Only two lifeboats were launched before the Elena Mia went down. Pembroke was in the second. The roar of the sinking ship was the last thing he heard for some time.
Pembroke survives a shipwreck only to wake up with some of his shipmates in a perfect town filled with almost-perfect people. He quickly discovers that politeness will get him dead.
The story has good plotting, and Pembroke is a resourceful, if hapless, character.
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