Present-day San Francisco in a good detective story. Rapid action; tense excitement; satisfying romance--"one of the best of this season's crop of puzzle yarns." --N.Y. Herald
e a real getaway. All I needed to lay hands on him was a good description."
"Description?" echoed Whipple. "Your agency's got descriptions on file--thumb prints--photographs--of every employee of this bank."
"Every one of 'em but Clayte," I said. "When I came to look up the files, there wasn't a thing on him. Don't think I ever laid eyes on the man myself."
A description of Edward Clayte? Every man at the table--even old Sillsbee--sat up and opened his mouth to give one; but Knapp beat them to it, with,
"Clayte's worked in this bank eight years. We all know him. You can get just as many good descriptions as there are people on our payroll or directors in this room--and plenty more at the St. Dunstan, I'll be bound."
"You think so?" I said wearily. "I have not been idle, gentlemen; I have interviewed his associates. Listen to this; it is a composite of the best I've been able to get." I read: "Edward Clayte; height about five feet seven or eight; weight between one hundred an
Fast-paced mystery with the intriguing character of Barbara Wallace, a lightning calculator.
When a million dollars disappears from a bank, young Worth Gilbert, just home from the World War I battlefields, bids on a cha to find the colorless bank teller who disappeared with it. He'll pay the bank $800,000 -- with the right to keep it all if he catches the thief with the missing funds. He brings in Boyne, the bank's private detective and the novel's narrator, and Barbara, his childhood friend, to help. Along the way, he's accused of having stolen the money himself and, ultimately, of murder.
The solution is surprising, the characterizations well done and the story moves along. The only drawbacks are a few loose ends that aren't tied up in the conclusion, and some ugly ethnic slurs common to the period.
What I liked most about this detective story is that it doesn't revolve around a stupid person. Rather, all participants do their best to solve the fraud case that is soon overshadowed by possible murder. Persons are depicted as multifaceted. Small societies have their small wars. Enjoy this well-written account of 1920 south California.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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