Armchair in Hell (Peter Chambers)
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Originally published in 1948
When a lush brunette turns up unexpectedly dead in a stranger’s bed, and an antique dealer (who is “mostly legit”) settles down in an easy chair with a dagger in his back, and a big-time gambler drops all bets on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood—then Peter Chambers, fiction’s most eye-catching, hard-boiled private eye, finds himself staked out as victim number 4 in a high-priced game of death and international intrigue.
he said. “Wonderful. Exquisite. Regard, if you please. We, in my country, know full well of the American private detective, and with respect. We hold the wife both in esteem and in awe. Pray, if you please, the wife?” “Wh-a-a-t?” I said. “The wife. In my country, we associate the American private detective with a wife, a blonde and beautiful and lengthy-limbed wife, who flits about, fetchingly and disarmingly and dangerously, and who is rescued by the husband, several times, and so the case is
got here,” the Butcher said, mirthlessly. “Unless what?” Denny said. The Butcher swiveled his head around. “Denny, you will please excuse us. I got things to discuss around with this guy.” “A pleasure.” Denny stood up and he touched the redhead’s arm. “Come on, sexy, I’ll buy you a drink.” The door shut. “Mama mia. …” The Butcher’s voice disappeared while he bent over and opened a low refrigerated liquor closet behind him. He produced a bottle of White Rock, a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol
looped. The guy with the nothing-face.” “Just a guy.” “Don’t go away,” she said. “I’ll be right back.” Rescue, I did not want. I hoped, fervently, that Dolores Castle wasn’t going noble on me. I was looking forward to Dolores Castle, but not noble. I said, “In a minute,” to the boys, lightly and deprecatingly; and then she was back and she shook hands with me and she said good-bye and she left a stiff little card with me, in my hand. On the way out, in the men’s room, I looked at it. It was
knows that Algernon Hale brought that bag into New York the night he was killed.” It didn’t bother him. He wasn’t interested. Neither was I, any more. He lit a cigarette off his cigarette and shrewd wrinkles jumped around his eyes. He was punching around for an out, and he had probably found one; there must have been a lot of outs in the story I had cooked up over a fast fire. But the hell with that. Be shrewd in a hurry, Mr. Little Guy; I’d like to get the hell out of here. “Call up,” he
left in his lips; stiffly. I slapped his face, unquietly and impatiently, each side, forehand and backhand, and fast. He drew up his lids and he showed me reproachful eyes. “Marmaduke,” I said. “Yes, sir.” “How are you, Marmaduke?” “I am all right, sir. Thank you.” “Feel better?” “Oh, yes, sir.” Then his eyes rolled up. I did some more face tennis on him and then I took hold of thin bones in his shoulders and I rattled and his eyes rolled down. “Have a slug of gin.” I showed him how.