Terror Is My Trade - Stephen Marlowe - ebook

Terror Is My Trade ebook

Stephen Marlowe

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Crossing the Atlantic on NATO's behalf, Drum tangles with mobsters, blackmail, and murder 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. Hired by a NATO functionary as a bodyguard, the private investigator quickly learns his real assignment: protecting his client from a Chicago mobster with dreams of blackmail. Keeping the mafia at bay is tricky enough, but when a State Department colleague ends up in the line of fire, Drum sets his mind on getting even. After all, there is no better spot for vengeance than the icy waters of the open sea. Review Quote: "Very few writers of the tough private-eye story can tell it more accurately than Mr. Marlowe, or with such taut understatement of violence and sex." - The New York Times Book Review "A cult author for lovers of noir fiction." - Mónica Calvo-Pascual, author of Chaos and Madness "A great pulpster ... always one of my favorites." - Ed Gorman, author of The Poker Club Biographical note Stephen Marlowe (1928-2008) was the author of more than fifty novels, including nearly two dozen featuring globe-trotting private eye Chester Drum. Born Milton Lesser, Marlowe was raised in Brooklyn and attended the College of William and Mary. After several years writing science fiction under his given name, he legally adopted his pen name, and began focusing on Chester Drum, the Washington-based detective who first appeared in The Second Longest Night (1955). Although a private detective akin to Raymond Chandler's characters, Drum was distinguished by his jet-setting lifestyle, which carried him to various exotic locales from Mecca to South America. These espionage-tinged stories won Marlowe acclaim, and he produced more than one a year before ending the series in 1968. After spending the 1970s writing suspense novels like The Summit (1970) and The Cawthorn Journals (1975), Marlowe turned to scholarly historical fiction. He lived much of his life abroad, in Switzerland, Spain, and France, and died in Virginia in 2008.

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

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About the Book

Crossing the Atlantic on NATO’s behalf, Drum tangles with mobsters, blackmail, and murder

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.

Hired by a NATO functionary as a bodyguard, the private investigator quickly learns his real assignment: protecting his client from a Chicago mobster with dreams of blackmail. Keeping the mafia at bay is tricky enough, but when a State Department colleague ends up in the line of fire, Drum sets his mind on getting even. After all, there is no better spot for vengeance than the icy waters of the open sea.

Review Quote:

“Very few writers of the tough private-eye story can tell it more accurately than Mr. Marlowe, or with such taut understatement of violence and sex.” - The New York Times Book Review

“A cult author for lovers of noir fiction.” - Mónica Calvo-Pascual, author of Chaos and Madness

“A great pulpster ... always one of my favorites.” - Ed Gorman, author of The Poker Club

About the Author

Stephen Marlowe (1928–2008) was the author of more than fifty novels, including nearly two dozen featuring globe-trotting private eye Chester Drum. Born Milton Lesser, Marlowe was raised in Brooklyn and attended the College of William and Mary. After several years writing science fiction under his given name, he legally adopted his pen name, and began focusing on Chester Drum, the Washington-based detective who first appeared in The Second Longest Night (1955).

Although a private detective akin to Raymond Chandler’s characters, Drum was distinguished by his jet-setting lifestyle, which carried him to various exotic locales from Mecca to South America. These espionage-tinged stories won Marlowe acclaim, and he produced more than one a year before ending the series in 1968. After spending the 1970s writing suspense novels like The Summit (1970) and The Cawthorn Journals (1975), Marlowe turned to scholarly historical fiction. He lived much of his life abroad, in Switzerland, Spain, and France, and died in Virginia in 2008.

Terror Is My Trade

A Chester Drum Mystery

Stephen Marlowe

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 © 2012 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1958 by Fawcett Publications, Inc.

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Kathleen Lynch

 

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

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-417-3

 

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.

Chapter One

THIS ONE STARTS WITH a girl and a medicine ball in the gym on H.M.S. Queen Victoria, the largest luxury liner afloat.

Back and forth thudded the medicine ball, making a short savage flight between the gym attendant, who was sweating through his T-shirt and cord slacks, and the girl, crisp and cool in a white polo shirt and shorts. She was about as muscular as a girl can be without making you wonder about her hormones. Each time she raised the five pound medicine ball overhead, her breasts would rise tautly under the fabric of her polo shirt and the gym attendant would wince, waiting for the thud of the medicine ball. He’d back up a step every time she threw. She didn’t move her bare legs. She was like a mechanical gadget, which was going to smash him to little pieces with the five pound ball.

I walked into the line of fire just after the medicine ball went thud against the gym attendant’s abused belly.

“I’m looking for Dr. McGivern,” I said.

The gym attendant jerked his head toward me gratefully. Sweat flew from his face. “This is—” he began.

“Come on,” the Amazon said, holding out her hands implacably. I ducked as the gym attendant lobbed the ball back to her. They played catch for another minute or two. Then the girl let the medicine ball drop at her feet and asked for a towel, which the attendant brought to her hopefully. She toweled herself off, rubbing briskly and raising the sweet-acid smell of perfume and sweat. The attendant saw that he wasn’t wanted any longer and wandered off to his small room near the gym’s entrance.

“I see,” the girl said with a gleam of malice in her clear blue eyes, “that you’re already goofing off even before the ship sails. If you’re supposed to be Wade Rumbough’s bodyguard, what are you doing here?”

Verbally, she was still hurling medicine balls. I hadn’t been paid to catch them. I picked up the towel, which she had tossed on the mechanical horse, and gave it to her. “Towel yourself off again,” I suggested, “and we’ll start from scratch.”

After a few seconds she decided not to throw the towel at me. “You haven’t answered my question,” she said through clenched teeth.

“If you’re Dr. McGivern, you sent for me. Remember?”

Before she could answer, a clamorous bell pealed and echoed through the Queen Victoria’s companionways. “All visitors ashore,” Dr. McGivern said. “That could mean you.”

“I’m no visitor.”

“Wade Rumbough doesn’t need a bodyguard. What’s he paying you?”

“Fifty a day and all expenses.”

“And a free trip to Europe. Some deal. What if I doubled it?”

“Sorry. I already have a client.”

“I mean to walk off this ship and lie in the sun somewhere?” She leaned her sturdy rump against the mechanical horse and draped the towel across her shoulders.

“Some deal you have,” I said. “Wade Rumbough’s as healthy as a horse. He doesn’t need a doctor.”

“His brother Rufus does. He’s a diabetic.”

I let that ride. “Some deal,” I repeated. “What if I doubled it and asked you to walk off this ship and lie in the sun somewhere?”

“All right,” she said suddenly. “All right, what if it isn’t Rufus? What if I am just a paid companion for Wade Rumbough’s daughter? Don’t you think I know it? But that’s different. You, you’re selling your muscles where there’s no market for them. Don’t you think the U.S. Government can take care of Wade Rumbough? How do you think it will look with a private bodyguard?”

“Ask Rumbough,” I said. But she had a point there.

“Don’t you understand? Please? Please, Drum? There’s still time for you to get off the ship.” And, when I shook my head, “I tried bribing you. That didn’t get me anywhere. I even tried begging you ...”

I grinned. “You can always try love.”

The next thing I knew she took a step and came closer. She was kissing me. Her lips worked at it, her tongue worked at it and her hands walked up over my shoulder blades to the back of my neck. Then she stepped back suddenly. Her eyes were darker and her parted lips had swelled. Her hair, which was a tawny color, hung loose. Until then I hadn’t realized how pretty she was.

Nor how single-mindedly naive. Somehow it should have been a warning for all that was to come. She said, “Well?”

It was a question, and she wanted an answer. The only one I could think of was, “Hey now, Doc. Can’t you take a joke?”

Her lips clamped shut and her eyes got hard. “You son of a bitch,” she said softly, and turned, and walked out of the gym.

I lit a cigarette and went downstairs to the press room, where the party was just breaking up. Fifteen minutes later a tug whistle hooted and the Queen Victoria moved slowly away from the West 50th Street dock and out into New York harbor, bound for Europe.

Chapter Two

I FOUND WADE RUMBOUGH pacing the floor of his suite on the main deck of the Victoria. His brother Rufus stood at the porthole, swaying slightly and watching the midtown skyline drift by. The door was hooked back with a curtain drawn across the doorway, as doors usually are on the Queens after embarkation so the stewards can glide in and out with last minute stateroom luggage.

“... if you can’t hold your liquor,” Wade Rumbough was saying.

“I only had a couple of drinks,” his brother answered with a slight whine.

That was when I cleared my throat. Wade Rumbough whirled. He had hair like bleached cornsilk covering his scalp in thick, beautiful waves. His eyes were pale blue under bristling black brows. His nose was straight but a little too long. His jaw was firm and thrusting under a hard handsome mouth. He had been a Congressman from Illinois for two terms until his defeat in the last election.

“How long you been standing there?” he snapped.

“Remind me to knock,” I said, “When you need a bodyguard in a hurry.”

His face turned pink. “I guess you have a point there.”

“Well, I told you how it would be when you hired me. You think you need a bodyguard—that’s your business and it’s why I’m here. By the time this trip’s finished you’re going to hate my guts. It will probably be mutual. Sometimes I think a private dick has to be nuts to take on a deal like this.”

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!

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!

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!