Stories by Seven Renowned American mystery writers offer a delightful mix of mystery, suspense and murder in this new anthology.
Jake Pace is halfway through mixing a batch of cookies when his lawyer arrives with a corpse. The body in the coffin is an android, built in the shape of recently deceased electronics heiress Sylvie Kirkyard and implanted with a chip that holds Sylvie’s memories. Although she was only 27, Sylvie had for a long time feared for her life, and took the precaution of insuring her consciousness with Kirktronics’ patented Brainz, Inc. method.
Jake Pace is battling a bistro’s worth of robotic mafia goons when the government comes to ask him a favor. The Department of Big Business has a particularly sensitive murder on its hands, and Jake, proprietor of Odd Jobs, Inc., is a sensitive detective. A week ago, Statz Kazee announced to a television audience of 140 million that his next scoop would blow the lid off the international business community. Hours later, he was found shot to death.
John Easy never likes to get out of bed, especially when the woman beside him is as beautiful as Jill Jeffers, but no man can argue with an earthquake. The quake subsides after a few moments, but another one is coming. Something fierce is about to rock Los Angeles, and California’s hippest private detective is going to be right in the middle of it. Gay Holland, Easy’s newest client, is rich, lonely, and missing her brother Gary. Gary is recently divorced and has a married girlfriend.
Raffles Tunny, a juggler in the employ of the United States government, is relaxing at his Swiss chalet when a killer comes to call. He’s found the next day, electrocuted in the style of serial murderer Shocker Fulson, the man with the electric touch. The trouble is, Shocker’s dead - cremated and interred in New Orleans - and Raffles is not the first victim. Six other government-employed entertainers are have been murdered, all of them killed in the style of an executed madman.
Jake Pace comes to on the floor of a dungeon, where a robot jailer is killing rats. The last twenty-four hours are a blank; he doesn’t remember anything since he stepped into his skycar, chasing a tip on the Big Bang murders. For weeks the killings have stumped every officer in the government - costing six of them their lives - but a soprano named Palsy Hatchbacker told Jake she knew something that could break open the case.
H. J. Mavity, painter of paperback romance covers, has a perplexing riddle to solve when her ex-boyfriend, Rick Dell, collapses at her feet after telling her that the words "ninety-nine clop clop" hold the clue to a lot of money. Although Dell has clearly been murdered, H. J.'s avarice gets the better of her and she determines to risk the ire of whoever has killed Dell to go after the money. First, however, she must understand the riddle and who better to help her than her ex-husband, Ben Spanner, a gifted mimic whose voice is known to millions through TV and radio commercials.
"To portray a voice actor, get a voice actor"
A humorous sendup of the movie industry, mysteries, science fiction, and pulp movie serials. Is Peter Tinsley imagining things? Or did that frail, beautiful doll, Tracy Flynn, flip the gangster Dime Gallardo to the ceiling just as Dime was about to make macaroni out of Pete's skull? Pete can't get an explanation out of Tracy, and he's got his hands full trying to grope his way into a cozier position with her. All of which make it tough to concentrate on the Martian extravaganza he's supposed to be writing for Star Spangled Studios....
With a deft blending of wit and suspense, Ron Goulart weaves another criminous tapestry filled with action and entertainment in this sequel to his popular Even the Butler Was Poor. H. J. Mavity still wants to get rich quick; her ex-husband, Ben Spanner, still wants to keep her out of trouble; and her chief client, Lloyd Dobkin, thinks someone is trying to kill him. He's right - H.J.'s in trouble, and Ben has his hands full as Dobkin's murderer decides that the lovely artist knows the secret....
A hip private eye with a battered VW and a major turtleneck collection, he’s pondering an encroaching wildfire when his secretary tells him that Frederic McCleary’s daughter has risen from the dead. Five years ago, Jackie McCleary took a dive into the Pacific Ocean, leaving her old man nothing but a suicide note and his Academy Awards to keep him company. Her body was never found, and her father has long nursed a secret hope that she is still alive. Out of the blue, he receives a letter in Jackie’s handwriting asking for a meeting. When she doesn’t show, he hires John Easy to find his daughter in a city whose citizens all too often resemble the living dead.
The jungle scenery is costing Marco Killespie a cool hundred thousand dollars. A stickler for quality, this king of television advertising doesn’t mind writing big checks, but his latest masterpiece - a root beer commercial - is in serious danger of going over budget. Everything was going fine until his leading lady, the up-and-coming Jill Jeffers, disappeared.
Jim Benning makes $25,000 a year writing drivel for the admen at the Arbogast & Joseph Agency, and his wife thinks he’s worth a whole lot less. Joanna is a model: nervous, beautiful, and prone to meltdowns. In a last-ditch attempt to save their marriage, she agrees to a few sessions with a psychiatrist in San Ignacio - a quack whose psychobabble is more sinister than it appears. But when Joanna disappears, Jim’s only hope is John Easy, the hippest P.I. in Hollywood.