The P.I. hero of this one is a bit different from most such characters. Mike Cavanaugh, at thirty-two, is co-owner with his middle aged partner Sam, his mentor/father figure, of the most successful agency in Texas. They employ fifteen agents.
Liza Wilson walks in one day and wants to hire them. A rich oil man’s daughter, she flashes sixteen hundred dollar bills at them and wants her eldest brother followed. She has two older brothers and a younger sister and pretty much bosses them all around. Dad had lived in an apartment in town for years since her mother had died, leaving her, since fifteen, in charge of the mansion.
The other brother had told her the night before, older brother had tried to kill him, trying to shove his car off the side of a mountain, him just barely escaping.
Dad’s new will. The eldest was a playboy, drinking, gambling, and playing the ladies. The second was the serious one, working in the business. Dad had left him the estate, with the older getting an allowance each month. In the event, the second died, the elder would then inherit the money. It also seems the second brother is adopted, the son of a second marriage and the two girls’ mother. The two girls get all the shopping cards they wanted until they married(Dad thought females weren’t good for much beyond making babies), then nothing unless both brothers died.
When the murder comes, it’s not quite what is expected and the case starts getting complicated. The old man hires him to find the killer, but he seems more interested in having a couple of his men following Cavanaugh around, having them try to “influence” him away from the town he got a start in when clues lead them there. Cavanaugh doesn’t take well to their brand of influence.
What’s in that small town the old man doesn’t want them to find?
Cavanaugh ends up in the middle between the old man and the murderer and witnesses start dying, evidence getting concealed, and a big mess left for him to dig through.
Enjoyed this one.
For more forgotten books, check out PATTINASE.