Lew Archer checks into a motel late one night after the man he was following crosss into Mexico. He’s awakened by a woman screaming, fynds her standing at the room next door with blood on her hand. He gets two stories: first the girl cut her hand, then when he spots the blood-covered sheet, he’s told a man had a nose bleed.
None of hid business until shortly down the road, he finds a black Cadillac with a naked dead man behind the wheel, a makeshift bandage around his waist made of a woman’s slip, monogrammed with the name Fern.
Back at the motel, after calling the cops, he gets a third story: a blowsy early forties blond with a gun.
He’s soon involve with gangsters wanting Fern and the description doesn’t match the one he’d been given.
A nice novella originally published in the early fifties.
Archer gets hired by a man who wants his sister returned home. She’d married an artist with a reputation and the man was worried the fellow was after money. The siblings had a school founded by their father worth money.
Archer didn’t like his client. He seemed more interested in money than his sister’s happiness.
The case devolves into a bigger mess right away.
A fine story.