Authors: Bill Pronzini
Tags: #Mystery & Crime
Digital Edition published by Crossroad Press
Â© 2011 / Bill Pronzini
Copy-edited by: David Niall Wilson and David Dodd
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Cover Design By: David Dodd
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.
If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.
If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to the vendor of your choice and purchase your own copy.
Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Son of Gun in Cheek
On Account of Darkness
Day of the Moon
Duel at Gold Buttes
Sixgun in Cheek (Coming Soon)
Try any title from CROSSROAD PRESS â use the Coupon Code FIRSTBOOK for a one-time 20% savings!
We have a wide variety of eBook and Audiobook titles available.
Find us at:
"Fergus O'Hara, Detective." Copyright Â© 1974, 1990 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. First published in
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
"The Desert Limited." Copyright Â© 1995 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. First published in
Louis L'Amour Western Magazine.
"Medium Rare." Copyright Â© 1998 by the Pronzini-Muller Family
Trust. First published in
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
"Jade." Copyright Â© 1970 by H.S.D. Publications; revised version copyright Â© 1999 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. First pub
Alfred Hitchcocks Mystery Magazine
as "The Jade Figurine."
"Vanishing Act." Copyright Â© 1975 by H.S.D. Publications, Inc.
First published in
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
"The Desperate Ones." Copyright Â© 1971, 1992 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. First published in
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.
"Blood Money." Copyright Â© 1975, 1992 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. First published in
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
"Dead Man's Slough." Copyright Â© 1980, 1983 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. First published in
"A Killing in Xanadu." Copyright Â© 1980 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. First published in a limited edition by Waves Press.
"Stakeout." Copyright Â© 1990 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. First published in
Justice for Hire.
"La Bellezza delle Bellezze." Copyright Â© 1991 by the Pronzini-Muller Family Trust. First published in
Carpenter and Quincannon
The "Nameless Detective"
Over the past thirty-some years I've had the pleasure of creating a variety of fictional sleuths for both novels and short stories One of them has fared quite well, the others have been less successful, though a couple have had careers which exceeded my modest expectations. Each has led an interesting life (at least to me) and each has been different in fundamental ways.
Foremost among them, of course, is the fellow who has been around almost as long as I haveâmy first story was published in 1966, his first recorded case a year laterâand who is better known than I am in spite of the fact that he doesn't have a name. The San Francisco private investigator dubbed the "Nameless Detective" (by a former editor, not by me) has appeared in twenty-five novels and numerous short stories spanning four decades.
My other series detectives run the gamut of fictional types: professional and amateur,
historical and contemporary, humorous and deadly serious, honorable and notorious, soft-boiled, medium-boiled, and hard-boiled. There is Fergus O'Hara, a roguish individualist who, with his wife Hattie, plies his trade during the time of the Civil War. There are John Quincannon and Sabina Carpenter, an affectionately mismatched pair who operate a private agency called Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services, in 1890s San Francisco. There is Dan Connell, ex-pilot and reformed black marketeer whose bailiwick is Singapore and Malaysia. There is Christopher Steele, magician extraordinary, who specializes in solving seemingly impossible crimes
a joint creation with Michael Kurland. And there is Carmody, a freelance bodyguard and supplier of legal and extralegal services, who is based on the Mediterranean island of Majorca and whose adventures take him to such locales as Vienna, Venice, Amsterdam, North Africa, and Spain's Costa del Sol.
Each of these characters, and his (and her) special brand of detection, is represented here
a sort of detectives' round table. You may not like all of them or their methods, but I hope you'll find their company stimulating. None of them gave
a dull moment, anywayâ¦
n a balmy March afternoon in the third full year of the War Between the States, while that conflict continued to rage bloodily some two thousand miles distant, Fergus and Hattie O'Hara jostled their way along San Francisco's Embarcadero toward Long Wharf and the riverboat
The half-plank, half-dirt roads and plank walks were choked with horses, mules, cargo-laden wagonsâand with all manner of humanity: bearded miners and burly roustabouts and sun-darkened farmers; rope-muscled Kanakas and Filipino laborers and coolie-hatted Chinese; shrewd-eyed merchants and ruffle-shirted gamblers and bonneted ladies who might have been the wives of prominent citizens or trollops on their way to the gold fields of the Mother Lode. Both the pace and the din were furious. At exactly four P.M. some twenty steamers would leave the waterfront, bound upriver for Sacramento and Stockton and points in between.
O'Hara clung to their carpetbags and Hattie clung to O'Hara as they pushed through the throng. They could see the
the moment they reached Long Wharf. She was an impressive side-wheeler, one of the "floating palaces" that had adorned the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers for more than ten years. Powered by a single-cylinder, vertical-beam engine, she was 245 feet long and had slim, graceful lines. The long rows of windows running full length both starboard and larboard along her deckhouse, where the Gentlemen's and Dining Saloons and most of the staterooms were located, refracted jewellike the rays of the afternoon sun. Above, to the stern, was the weather deck, on which stretched the "texas"; this housed luxury staterooms and cabins for the packet's officers. Some distance forward of the texas was the oblong glassed-in structure of the pilothouse.
Smiling as they approached, O'Hara said, "Now ain't she a fine lady?" He spoke with a careless brogue, the result of a strict ethnic upbringing in the Irish Channel section of New Orleans. At times this caused certain individuals to underestimate his capabilities and intelligence, which in his profession was a major asset.
fine, Fergus," Hattie agreed. "As fine as any on the Mississippi before the war. How far did you say it was to Stockton?"
O'Hara laughed. "A hundred twenty-seven miles. One night in the lap of luxury is all we'll be having this trip, me lady."
"Pity," Hattie said. She was in her late twenties, five years younger than her husband; dark-complected, buxom. Thick black hair, worn in ringlets, was covered by a lace-decorated bonnet. She wore a gray serge traveling dress, the hem of which was now coated with dust.
O'Hara was tall and plump, and sported a luxuriant red beard of which he was inordinately proud and on which he doted every morning with scissors and comb. Like Hattie, he had mild blue eyes; unlike Hattie, and as a result of a fondness for spirits, he possessed a nose that approximated the color of his beard. He was dressed in a black frock coat, striped trousers, and a flowered vest. He carried no visible weapons, but in a holster inside his coat was a double-action revolver.