It seemed like a simple job. Miami P.I. Tony Rome’s ex-partner, Ralph Turpin, needed some help. The cheap hotel he worked for as a sort of house dick had a drunk woman passed out in one of their rooms. A rich man’s daughter, the word was out that she was missing and they didn’t want the bad publicity. Rome was offered $200.00 if their name was kept out of it
Rudolph Kosterman was the self-made rich man that was the girl’s father. Rome returned the girl and refused questions other than that she was fine, nothing had happened, and the hotel wanted no trouble.
Late the next day he was visited by the daughter who wanted her diamond encrusted gold daisy pin returned. When Rome convinced her, he didn’t take it, by insisting she should go to the police, she wanted to hire him to find it. A present from her father, it had a sentimental attachment and she didn’t want her father to know anything about it.
In short order, he’s waylaid at his office by two men, taped to a deck chair on his boat, the STRAIGHT PASS, and chloroformed, to awaken to a boat obviously searched. His car and office as well. Something small as the phones were screwed apart.
Since he had nothing else going for the moment, it had to be the daisy pin. A little investigation with the insurance company showed it was worth a few grand. Not enough to be worth all the trouble someone was going to.
Then old Kosterman hires him to find out what’s bothering his daughter. Everything must be kept in-house. No cops.
Things start to go sideways when he arrives early in the morning to his office only to find his ex-partner dead on the floor with a bullet through his forehead and his .45 lying on the floor beside him, one shot fired. Blood pools away from him and going out the door told Rome that one shot hit someone. And bad.
I’ve always like Albert’s westerns, but this is the first of his Rome P.I. series I’d ever read. I have one of the other two and have my eye out for the third. I covered the movie starring Frank Sinatra this past Tuesday on Todd Mason’s Overlooked Movies.
As always, on Fridays, for more forgotten books, check out Patti Abbott over at Pattinase.