The Obeah Murders - Hulbert Footner - ebook

The Obeah Murders ebook

Hulbert Footner

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Opis

The novel begins with the fact that Phil Nevitt, an employee of an American alcoholic beverage company, goes to Annunziata, the mythical island of Futner’s creation in the West Indies, to learn everything he can about the Randall Trantora rum. „The Obeah Murders” show their fantastic roots with so many genre influences (spy, western, adventure, supernatural and detective). In the end, however, the race issue was the most surprising and, ultimately, the most important aspect of the book. More Footner reviews will appear later this summer.

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Liczba stron: 342

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Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 1

Phil Nevitt was one of half a dozen assistant secretaries of Columbia Distillers, an Organization that within two or three years after repeal had quietly become one of the great corporations of the country. It was a good job for his years, which were twenty-five; he could fairly term himself an “executive.” He had worked hard, which nowadays implies something harder than work–i.e., self-discipline; keeping a firm hand on his vices–but not too firm, and directing every thought and action to the end of making good; consequently he was looked upon as a rising man.

It could not be said that he was on intimate terms with the big boss, Julius Chapman; they had met a few times at some of the larger conferences of officials, that was all. Phil did not suspect that Mr. Chapman had ever singled him out as an individual; consequently, one morning at the beginning of winter it was with some apprehension that he received a summons to the president’s office.

He entered the palatial chamber smiling, to be on the safe side. Mr. Chapman, a small man, grim and white, with an odd rectangular head taller than it was long, looked him up and down before he spoke. There was a good deal of Phil to take in, six feet two of him, and broad in proportion. Mr. Chapman grunted encouragingly, and waved him toward a chair.

“Sit down,” he said. “Smoke?”

Phil’s smile broadened in relief as he helped himself to a presidential cigar.

“Are you married?” asked Mr. Chapman.

Phil laughed at the unexpectedness of the question. “No, sir.”

“I’m not trying to probe into your personal affairs. I merely want to know if your circumstances are such that you can make a voyage on confidential business of the company.”

Phil’s heart lifted up at the thought of a voyage. “I can, sir.”

“Good. Do you know anything about rum?”

“Only the taste of it, sir.”

“Well, don’t pursue that too far. I have chosen you for this job because I have a good report of you and because you’re too new to be generally known as an official of the company. This business must be carried out in secrecy.”

“I get you, sir.”

“Well, it has to do with rum. There are two sources of rum within our country, and both of them have started to produce again since repeal. One is New England rum, which, as you know, we already control. The other is the rum made on our island of Annunziata in the West Indies. Do you know anything about Annunziata?”

“Nothing but its name, sir.”

“A smallish island, off the main routes of travel. Rarely visited by tourists. Very beautiful, I am told, and enjoys a superb climate. Only a handful of white men live there. Years ago Annunziata rum was considered the best of all rums and commanded the highest price. Manufacture had to be abandoned when prohibition went into effect, and incidentally the island was ruined because it was their only industry. Now they’re starting up again. On the face of it, it is a private enterprise promoted by a man called Randal Trantor, who is the government representative on the island. This seems a little irregular, but we need not go into that.

“This Trantor must have strong backing, because he ordered a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of machinery two years ago, and has just lately duplicated his order. It constitutes a serious threat of competition to us and we must look into it. So far Trantor has made no attempt to market his rum. I want you to go to Annunziata in the guise of an idle tourist...”

“But if tourists never visit the island, sir?”

“You must be an original kind of tourist, one of those fellows that like to poke about in out-of-the-way places.”

“I get you.”

“Find out all you can about this Trantor; what sort of man he is; what kind of a plant he is putting up; how far he has got with it; what his connections are in this country; and especially who are his backers. Send me a detailed report of all this–you had better mail it under cover to our lawyers, and remain on the island until you hear from me.”

“Yes, sir.”

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