"Grafton's novel is not simply a historical curio, but a genuinely offbeat and entertaining suspense story."—The Washington Post
Is this lawyer digging his way to the truth, or digging his own grave?
Short, chubby, and awkward with members of the opposite sex, Gil Henry is the youngest partner in a small law firm, not a hard-boiled sleuth. So when an attractive young woman named Ruth McClure walks into his office and asks him to investigate the value of the stock she inherited from her father, he thinks nothing of it—until someone makes an attempt on his life.
Soon Gil is inadvertently embroiled in scandal, subterfuge, and murder. He's beaten, shot, and stabbed, as his colleagues and enemies try to stop him from seeing the case through to the end. Surrounded by adversaries, he teams up with Ruth and her secretive brother to find answers to the questions someone desperately wants to keep him from asking.
In this portrait of America on the eve of America's entry into World War II, C.W. Grafton—himself a lawyer and the father of prolific mystery writer Sue Grafton—pens an award-winning mystery that combines humor and the hard-boiled style and will keep readers guessing until its thrilling conclusion.
First published in 1943, this outstanding hard-boiled whodunit from Grafton (1909 1982), the father of MWA Grand Master Sue Grafton, introduces Kentucky attorney Gil Henry. Ruth McClure would like Henry to ascertain the value of some stock her father, John McClure, who died 10 days earlier in a car accident, owned in Harper Products. Shortly before his death, John had cautioned Ruth that should anything happen to him, she was "to hold tight" to the stock. William Jasper Harper, the company's owner, is offering to buy back the shares from Ruth for almost five times the amount they're selling for. The ante's upped after Ruth's home is broken into and searched and someone shoots out Henry's tire as he's driving to Harpersville to look into the situation. The lawyer is soon investigating multiple murders, as well as possible financial chicanery. Series editor Les Klinger's annotations enhance the text. The superior prose and logical but surprising plot twists amply justify this volume's reissue as a Library of Congress Crime Classic.