When Andy Dineen tires of the FBI, he jumps ship for Langley and joins the CIA to fight the Cold War in Berlin. After years in the spy game, he grows sick of the paperwork, and is considering his options when an old friend, private detective Chester Drum, offers him a job. Drum is surprised when his old academy classmate takes him up on it, and shocked when it gets Dineen killed. Dineen’s first and last case is a stint as a bodyguard for a South American intellectual who’s writing an expose of his nation’s dictator.
Deirdre Hartsell loved life too much to shoot herself in her pretty head. She’d been a high-society party girl since her days at college, and her two greatest passions were keeping up appearances and having a roaring good time. Women like that don’t kill themselves, and Deirdre’s father wants to prove that his girl didn’t die by her own hand. To get the truth, he hires Washington DC’s sharpest private detective, Chester Drum. After all, Drum knew Deirdre better than anyone - he was married to her....
Chester Drum knows it’s over for Qasr Tabuk when he sees the city’s prostitutes taking flight. He came to this war-torn Arab country in search of an American surgeon, Turner Capeheart, who disappeared when the rebels took up arms. His search turned up nothing, and now that the working girls are leaving, he decides to do the same. Death is coming to Qasr Tabuk, and though Drum may evade it for now, it will haunt him as long as he remains in this blighted desert land.
In Spain for a wedding, Drum must rescue the kidnapped bride. Although a fugitive from 26 world governments, Axel Spade has minimal trouble crossing the border into Spain. Though briefly arrested, the guards let him go when they learn the identity of his future father-in-law: Colonel Santiago Sotomayor, whose name can open the lock of any Spanish dungeon. And so Spade and his best man, Washington PI Chester Drum, cross the frontier.
An American has vanished in Spain, and it’s his father, not his wife, who wants him found. When Chester Drum arrives in Iberia, legs aching from the three-thousand-mile flight, he finds Andrea Hartshorn not panicked, not mourning, but hosting the party of the year. World-weary expatriates mill about the villa, guzzling her liquor and dancing, without a thought for their missing countryman. Andrea is far from sober, but finally Drum gets her to open up. Of course she wants her husband back. But more than that, she wants her daughter.
Everybody knows George Brandvik killed Jorgen Kolding. As soon as the jury acquits him, Brandvik sells his story to View magazine, confessing to the crime in exchange for a payday. Once the magazine hits newsstands, the death threats start rolling in - semi-literate garbage which nevertheless must be taken seriously. A reporter from View hires private detective Chester Drum to protect Brandvik, and an hour hasn’t gone by before Drum saves the killer’s life, disarming a Swedish blonde before she can plug Brandvik in the gut. She is the dead man’s daughter, and her diplomatic immunity means she will be deported....
Eugenie is 17, with long legs, blonde hair, and an appetite for misery. Daughter of a corrupt millionaire, she has bounced around Europe’s finest boarding schools, and Chester Drum knows she’s trouble the moment he sees her tearing her blouse to implicate Ilya Alluliev, a Russian diplomat, in rape. The man came to give her a message, an envelope that quickly finds its way to Drum’s safe. Inside is an unsigned note claiming that a Russian Nobel Prize-winning poet is in grave danger. As soon as he reads it, Drum joins the poet on the Kremlin’s hit list.
A drive-by killing puts Drum on the scent of a Washington sex scandal. When Chester Drum first took a crack at detective work, PI Gil Sprayregan offered to split a case with him, giving the rookie half the fee and more credit than he deserved. Years later, Drum is established and Gil is at the tail end of a long, slow fall, drinking heavily and considering blackmail to make ends meet. When he gets in over his head, Sprayregan’s wife begs Drum to help. But her husband has already taken the first step on the road to oblivion.
Blood seeps into the gutters at the children’s zoo in Central Park. Two deer have been slaughtered, one stabbed 57 times and the other slashed across the neck. Normally it would be a case for the Parks Department, but these are no ordinary deer. The pride of the small menagerie, they were given to the zoo by a prominent socialite who cannot afford bloody headlines. The NYPD hands the case to Detective Reardon, star of the homicide squad.
Axel Spade would not have liked the way he died. An international fugitive, Spade would have preferred being gored by a bull or gunned down by Interpol to dying quietly in his bed. But a weak heart claimed him in his sleep, and so Chester Drum, Washington PI and the closest thing Spade had to a friend, scatters his ashes in the Atlantic.
Protecting an actor takes Drum into the seedy underworld of psychedelia. Terminal illness and regret go hand-in-hand. Two months ago, Amos Littlejohn was in the prime of life, and had plenty of energy to be enraged when his pregnant daughter was abandoned by her husband, matinee idol Ahmed Shiraz. Now stricken with leukemia, Littlejohn is near death, and beginning to regret taking out a contract on the actor’s life. He hires international private eye Chester Drum to call off the hit and protect Shiraz until his life is safe.
When Chester Drum knew him, Jack Morley was a Washington player, just a few promotions away from becoming Secretary of State. A bad divorce and a nervous breakdown later, Morley has hit rock bottom, and works in Paris for the Army ghoul squad, confirming the deaths of World War II soldiers long ago reported missing in action. Morley is content to spend the rest of his life wallowing in the bottom of a Pernod bottle, until word gets out that he is blackmailing a US senator - an accusation that could cost him his life.
Brooklyn Bulldogs star defensive end Lew Cassidy is on his way to a touchdown when a nasty tackle snaps his leg and ends his career. When he wakes up in the hospital, he learns the Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, and America is at war. It’s a shame his busted leg will keep him out of the army, because compared to New York, war is kindergarten. Cassidy’s closest friend is Terry Leary, a homicide detective who’s too slick for his own good. Just a few hours after Cassidy’s injury, someone puts a bullet in Leary’s spine.
Axel Spade’s Geneva office is tidier than one would expect from a man who’s wanted in 26 countries. A consulting criminal who sells advice on smuggling, fraud, and currency manipulation, Spade operates in style by staying on the good side of the American and Swiss authorities. But when his future son-in-law disappears after defrauding American servicemen of three million dollars, Spade becomes a target of Interpol, the CIA, and every GI with an empty wallet and a gun.
Abaria and Ofrid were opposing nations on Tarth, twin-planet to Earth lying beyond the sun. Abaria defeated Ofrid by treachery and leveled the nation to the ground, Retoc of Abaria killing Queen Evalla of Ofrid after fiendish torture. But Portox, the Ofridian scientist, transported Bram Forest, Evalla’s infant son to Earth where the prince grew to manhood in suspended animation and then returned to Tarth - a full grown man - to avenge his mother. As he arrives, Retoc has just slain Jlomec, brother of Bontare and Volna, rulers of powerful Nadia.
A monsoon is hammering Washington, D.C., when Chester Drum spots Anita Sparrow on the roadside in the middle of the night. Sixteen, frail, and soaking wet, she is trying to find help for her brother, Donny, a photographer with cerebral palsy who was beaten nearly to death a mile up the road. Drum takes Donny to the hospital and drives Anita home, where he finds her house ransacked, her brother’s darkroom destroyed. It seems Donny took a picture of something he wasn’t supposed to see, and powerful men will kill to ensure the negative is never developed.
On the eve of becoming a vice-presidential candidate, Fred Severing vanishes in Germany, where he made his name 12 years earlier during the madness that followed World War II. To find the American, his party hires globe-trotting private detective Chester Drum, and it isn’t long before Drum’s investigation lands him in the Rhine River along with an elderly war criminal. Drum is meeting with Wilhelm Rust, a mid-level ex-Nazi, when Communist spies storm their boat. Drum jumps into the river, taking Rust with him, and inadvertently saves the ex-Nazi’s life.
As the H.M.S. Queen Victoria pulls out of New York Harbor, danger encircles Chester Drum. He’s sailing for Europe on the largest luxury liner ever built, but it’s not big enough to hold the secrets on board - or the men who keep them. And by the time the liner reaches Southampton, she will be missing a few passengers. Drum can only hope he isn’t among those who don’t make it to shore.
Duncan Hadley Lord seems too happy to kill himself. But then, he has no reason to sleep around, either. For three months the history professor has carried on an affair with a call girl, and for the last few weeks Chester Drum and his partner, rookie PI Jerry Trowbridge, have watched him do it. When Lord steps onto a fourth-story window ledge on Homecoming night, Drum gets through the police cordon just in time to watch the professor fall to earth.