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Bet On Murder – Three Stories by Roger Torrey

Bet On Murder – Three Stories by Roger Torrey

Three stories of kidnapping, murder, frame-ups, greed and espionage on the World War II home front.

Book Details

Book Details

Bet On Murder – Three stories of kidnapping, murder, frame-ups, greed and espionage on the World War II home front.

The Bookie Bets on Murder (1945)
Gilbert wasn’t shipping his race horses for the benefit of a crooked bookie ring—not after he’d had a son killed in action. But neither did he like his daughter being kidnapped. That’s where Phelan came in—to find that even a private detective couldn’t prevent murder
Chapter I
Chapter II – Family Trouble
Chapter III – Sikes And His Merry Men
Chapter IV – Lost and Found
Chapter V – Ambush Killer
Chapter VI – Dog Eat Dog
Chapter VII – Murder Strikes Again
Chapter VIII – The Pay Off
Chapter IX – Lady Killer

The Frankie & Johnny Murder (1942)
The place was run wide open, and the soldiers loved it. Then one of them was found, brutally murdered, and the two women who were in charge knew that they must step carefully for a while or they’d be in trouble greater than they could handle

Three Women and a Corpse (1943)
I wouldn’t have known the girl from a bar of soap— but she knew me, and enlisted my aid. I should have known there was something screwy about it when she never made clear what she wanted me to do— but, they say, love is blind!
Chapter I
Chapter II – The Ladies—God Bless Them!
Chapter III – The Knife
Chapter IV – The Tell-Tale Stain
Chapter V – Proposition from the Boys
Chapter VI – The Ten Bills
Chapter VII – A Threat and a Promise
Chapter VIII – Another Kind of Money
Chapter IX – Gun Play
Chapter X – Money Hungry

Over a thirteen year period, Roger Torrey (1901-1946) turned out about two hundred and eighty stories and novellas, and one novel. Over one hundred of them were cover stories in magazines like Black Mask, Dime Detective and Detective Fiction Weekly.

Bet On Murder contains 35 illustrations.


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Excerpt: The Bookie Bets on Murder

Chapter I

THOMAS H. GILBERT had a palace, even if the sign on the road leading into it read GILBERT’S FISHING CAMP. It’s true it was on the ocean and that he had a cabin cruiser fitted out with outriggers for fishing the gulf stream, as well as two speed boats, all docked in the inlet that cut in next the house.

But he also had a house that was entirely modern, with a four car garage behind it, with four servants to run the shebang. He even had the grounds around it landscaped—one of the four tenants who had his own separate cottage at the side, was the gardener.

Quite a fishing camp and Gilbert was quite a man.

He was about fifty, white-headed and distinguished-looking, and almost a giant in size. He stood well over six feet in height and must have weighed two-twenty or over. He was tanned almost black and against this tan his white hair and teeth were startling.

And he was in a rage—he showed this in the way he stalked around his front room.

Philip Duval, his son-in-law, on the other hand, looked and acted upset and this was all. Duval was dark and Spanish-looking, and he walked and carried himself like a dancing master. He had a slight accent that wasn’t unpleasant, but I thought, then and there, that he’d cultivated it for its effect on women.

He was the Simon-pure gigolo type and no mistake.

Gilbert’s secretary, a man named Henson, was so colorless I had trouble in remembering his name, five minutes after I’d met him. And then there was Gilbert’s trainer, a little Irishman named Murphy.

He looked like an ex-jockey, and I found out afterward that’s what he’d been.

Both he and the secretary sat over in a corner and had nothing to say, though Murphy worked steadily on the highballs the butler kept bringing in. I noticed the secretary wasn’t having any—this though I wasn’t paying any particular attention.

Gilbert said: “I’m glad you came out, Mr. Phelan. I called your New York office, asking them to send a man down, and they advised me you were here on vacation. They suggested I get in touch with you.”

I said I was glad he had and lied in my teeth. It was my vacation and I’d earned it, and here the home office was putting me to work. I started figuring right then what I was going to tell Joe Pratt, my boss.

Gilbert said: “I own the Gilbert Stables, Mr. Phelan, and I’m being high-pressured because of it.”

“Then you own Corsair.”

“He’s my best horse.”

Duval said: “He’s one of the best horses that ever ran, Mr. Phelan.”

I’D seen the horse run at Belmont and thought the same, and the records bore me out. And I also remembered that Gilbert was rated as a millionaire horse owner, running his stables as a hobby. Certainly his place backed up the millionaire part of what I’d heard.

Gilbert said: “I’ve got my horses below, at Miami, waiting shipment. Now that our tracks are closed, there’s only the Cuban and Mexican tracks in operation. It’s either ship to Cuba or Mexico or stable them for the duration. I want to send my string to my Kentucky place but there are people with a different thought. They want me to ship either to Cuba or Mexico, no matter which. I refused to do either.”

“They’re your horses,” I said.

“It’s my daughter, too. They’ve taken her. Look at this note.”

He handed me a type-written note that read:


Gilbert asked: “Do you make anything of it, Mr. Phelan?”

I said: “Sure. It’s too wordy for a good ransom note. And it was written on an old typewriter. The top half of the S key is broken off, the letter E hits below the line and the letter M hits above it. And the carriage is out of order . . . it doesn’t space correctly or write evenly across the page. But that’s all. You’d have to find the typewriter to have it mean anything.”

“I’ve had three notes before this. All telling me to ship to Mexico or Cuba if I wished to avoid trouble. This is the first that mentions money.”

“Where are the other three?”

“I tore them up. I’ve had crank letters before and that’s what I thought these were.”

“D’ya remember whether they were written by this machine?”

“No, I don’t.”

The secretary spoke up from his seat in the corner. He said: “I remember them well, Mr. Phelan. They were. I recall thinking to myself that the machine that they were written on should be repaired.”

Gilbert explained: “Henson opens my mail and gives me the personal letters. The others he answers without bothering me with them.”

“Duval said: “I’ve urged Mr. Gilbert to ship the string at once. And to pay the forty thousand, when it’s asked for. It won’t hurt the horses to run and it may save Cornelia.”

Gilbert said: “What’s your opinion, Mr. Phelan? I don’t want to run my horses, but naturally, my daughter means more to me than all the horses in the world.”

I said: “Let me get this straight. Why all this fuss about shipping your horses? Why should anybody care whether you shipped your horses to Mexico or Cuba or whether you shipped them to your place in Kentucky?”

“The book-makers, Mr. Phelan. With a few exceptions, there’s not a horse running in Cuba or Mexico that any horse in my stable can’t beat. And there’s not a horse in either country that can hold a candle to Corsair. He’d be odds-on favorite, of course, but there are always people who’ll play the long shots against the favorite. That’s found money for the bookies. And they know the rest of my string as well. Working as a combine, they’d clean up a fortune every time my horses ran.”

Excerpt From: Roger Torrey. “Bet On Murder.”

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