Dancing Aztecs - Donald E. Westlake - ebook
Opis

When sixteen copies of a famous Aztec statue arrive in New York, men will die to find out which one is the real thing. A small South American republic has decided to capitalize on its national symbol: a prized gold statue of a dancing Aztec priest. The president asks a sculptor to make sixteen copies of it for sale abroad. The sculptor replaces the original with one of his fakes, and ships the real one to New York City for an under-the-table sale to a museum. The statues travel to America spread out among five crates, labeled to ensure that delivery goes as planned. But it doesn't work. Asked to pick up the crate marked "E" at the airport, delivery man Jerry Manelli, confused by his client's Spanish accent, takes crate "A" instead. The statue disappears into the city, leading him on a baffling chase, which - if he comes up with the wrong Aztec - could cost him his life. Review quote: "Dancing Aztecs still makes me guffaw with pleasure years after I read it." - Los Angeles Times "Everyone who's read Donald Westlake knows he's the funniest man in the world." - The Washington Post "Westlake has no peer in the realm of comic mystery novelists." - San Francisco Chronicle Biographical note: Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses - often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms - but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. Westlake's cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson's noir classic.

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

The First Part of the Search

The Second Part of the Search

The Third Part of the Search

Six Months After the Search

Looking for more suspense?

Cover

Begin Reading

About the Book

When sixteen copies of a famous Aztec statue arrive in New York, men will die to find out which one is the real thing.

A small South American republic has decided to capitalize on its national symbol: a prized gold statue of a dancing Aztec priest. The president asks a sculptor to make sixteen copies of it for sale abroad. The sculptor replaces the original with one of his fakes, and ships the real one to New York City for an under-the-table sale to a museum. The statues travel to America spread out among five crates, labeled to ensure that delivery goes as planned. But it doesn’t work.

Asked to pick up the crate marked “E” at the airport, delivery man Jerry Manelli, confused by his client’s Spanish accent, takes crate “A” instead. The statue disappears into the city, leading him on a baffling chase, which - if he comes up with the wrong Aztec - could cost him his life.

Review quote:

“Dancing Aztecs still makes me guffaw with pleasure years after I read it.” - Los Angeles Times

“Everyone who’s read Donald Westlake knows he’s the funniest man in the world.” - The Washington Post

“Westlake has no peer in the realm of comic mystery novelists.” - San Francisco Chronicle

About the Author

Donald E. Westlake (1933–2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950s, churning out novels for pulp houses- often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms- but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ruthless criminal named Parker. His writing earned him three Edgars and a Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Westlake’s cinematic prose and brisk dialogue made his novels attractive to Hollywood, and several motion pictures were made from his books, with stars such as Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson. Westlake wrote several screenplays himself, receiving an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of The Grifters, Jim Thompson’s noir classic.

Dancing Aztecs

Donald E. Westlake

 

BASTEI ENTERTAINMENT

 

Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG

 

Copyright © 2014 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany

 

For the original edition:

Copyright © 2011 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1976 by Donald E. Westlake

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Mumtaz Mustafa

 

E-book production: Jouve Germany GmbH & Co. KG

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-027-4

 

www.luebbe.de

www.bastei-entertainment.com

 

All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this e-book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

THIS IS FORAbby, who gave me the harp,Cindy, who gave me the satin lining,Pete, who gave me Flattery,Herb, who gave me the grain of sand,and Aunt Peg, who wanted five booksHERE THEY ARE

The Hustle is a New York dance.The New Yorker,“Talk of the Town,”May 5, 1975

THE CAST (most of them) IN ORDER OFAPPEARANCE (approximately):

JERRY MANELLI—city boy, on the move

HIRAM—a guard

MEL BERNSTEIN—an intellectual, but OK

ANGELA MANELLI BERNSTEIN—wife, sister and virago

MYRNA—very very

JOSE CARACHA—sculptor

EDWARDO BRAZZO—functionary, with necktie

PEDRO NINNI—patsy

HECTOR OVELLA—walk-on

MRS. MANELLI—mother and scientist

FRANK MCCANN—Irishman

FLOYD MCCANN—the Irishman’s brother

TERESA MANELLI MCCANN—wife and sister

BOBBI HARWOOD—ex-wife, on the go

CHUCK “PROFESSOR CHARLES S.” HARWOOD—pothead

OSCAR RUSSELL GREEN—successful activist and unsuccessful drunk

VICTOR KRASSMEIER—a la financier

AUGUST CORELLA—Jersey thug

WALLY HINTZLEBEL—swimming pool salesman and son

JENNY KENDALL—a nice girl

EDDIE ROSS—her nice boy

RALPH—chauffeur

EARL—henchman

RALPHI DURANT—indispensable receptionist

ETHELRED MARX—visitor from another planet

MRS. HINTZLEBEL—the world’s best Mom

BUD BEEMISS—PR man with a heart of gold

DAVID FAYLEY—a nice boy

KENNY SPANG—his nice boy

TROOPER LUKE SNELL—fantasist

MADGE KRAUSSE—friend with a sofa

BARBARA MCCANN—rotten bridge player

KATHLEEN MCCANN PODENSKI—a fourth

LEROY PINKHAM—punk

MARSHALL “BUHBUH” THUMBLE—another punk

F. XAVIER WHITE—Harlem’s Premier mortician

MALEFICENT WHITE—fat mama

JEREMIAH “BAD DEATH” JONESBURG—The Man

FELICITY TOWER—unexploded bomb

MANDY ADDLEFORD—the colored lady

WYLIE CHESHIRE—mean mother

MR. MANELLI—man with a hobby

LUPE NAZ—a yam-fed Descalzan beauty

BEN COHEN—Sound sailor

THEODORA NICE—nice

HUGH VAN DINAST—patrician and enthusiast

MRS. DOROTHY MOORWOOD—philanthropist

GINNY DEMERETTA—cameo appearance

A HAWK—innocent bystander

and

SIXTEEN DANCING AZTEC PRIESTS—all together now…

THEFIRST PARTOF THESEARCH

Everybody in New York City is looking for something. Men are looking for women and women are looking for men. Down at the Trucks, men are looking for men, while at Barbara’s and at the Lib women are looking for women. Lawyers’ wives in front of Lord & Taylor are looking for taxis, and lawyers’ wives’ husbands down on Pine Street are looking for loopholes. The hookers in front of the Americana Hotel are looking for johns, and the kids opening cab doors in front of the Port Authority bus terminal are looking for tips. So are the riders on the Aqueduct Special. So are the cabbies, the bellboys, the waiters, and the undercover narcs.

Recent graduates are looking for a job. Men in ties are looking for a better position. Men in suede jackets are looking for an opportunity. Women in severe tailoring are looking for an equal opportunity. Men in alligator belts are looking for a gimmick. Men with frayed cuffs are looking for ten bucks till Wednesday. Union men are looking for increased benefits and a nice detached house in New Hyde Park.

Nice boys from Fordham are looking for girls. Rock groups from St. Louis staying at the Chelsea are looking for gash. Male and female junior executives along Third Avenue are looking for a meaningful relationship. Bronx blacks in Washington Square Park are looking for white meat. Short-sleeved beer drinkers in Columbus Avenue bars are looking for trouble.

The Parks Department is looking for trees to cut down and turn into firewood for local politicians. Residents of the neighborhood are looking for politicians who will stop the Parks Department from cutting down all those trees. Fat chance.

Bowery bums with filthy rags in their hands are looking for a windshield to wipe. Cars with Florida plates are looking for the West Side Highway. Cars with MD plates are looking for a parking space. United Parcel trucks are looking for a double-parking space. Junkies are looking for cars with NYP plates because reporters sometimes leave cameras in their glove compartments.

The girls in the massage parlors are looking for a twenty-five dollar swell. The Wednesday afternoon ladies from the suburbs are looking for a nice time at the matinée, followed by cottage cheese on a lettuce leaf. Tourists are looking for a place to sit down, con men are looking for tourists, cops are looking for con men.

Old men on benches along upper Broadway are looking for a little sun. Old ladies in Army boots are looking for God-knows-what in trash cans on Sixth Avenue. Couples strolling hand-in-hand in Central Park are looking for a nature experience. Teen-age gangs from Harlem are in Central Park looking for bicycles.

Picketing welfare mothers on West 55th Street are looking for Rockefeller, but he’s never there.

At the UN they’re looking for simultaneous translation. On Broadway they’re looking for a hit. At Black Rock they’re looking for the trend. At Lincoln Center they’re looking for a respectable meaning.

Almost everybody in the subway is looking for a fight. Almost everybody on the 5:09 to Speonk is looking for the bar car. Almost everybody on the East Side is looking for status, while almost everybody on the West Side is looking for a diet that really works.

Everybody in New York is looking for something. Every once in a while, somebody finds it.

IN THE BEGINNING …

Jerry Manelli was looking for a box marked A.

It was a pleasant sunny Monday afternoon in June, and the big metal birds out at Kennedy Airport roared and soared, while Jerry drove his white Ford Econoline van through the cargo areas toward Southern Air Freight. On the shiny white sides of the van blue letters read Inter-Air Forwarding, with an address and phone number in Queens. White letters I-A were on his blue baseball cap, and his name in script—Jerry—was sewn on the left breast pocket of his white coveralls. He steered the van around mountains of mail sacks, stacks of cartons, cartfuls of luggage, and he whistled as he worked.

Approaching Southern Air Freight’s terminal, where the plane from Caracas had just been off-loaded, Jerry saw that a brand new gray-uniformed security guard was on duty here. A stranger. Jerry took one look at him, put on his aviator’s sunglasses, and reached for his clipboard. Braking to a stop on the tarmac, he hopped out wife the clipboard in his hand and the sunglasses sparkling in the light, and gave the new guard a big cheerful grin, saying, “Hi You’re new around here.”

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!