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English Knife – Four Stories by Robert A. Garron

English Knife – Four Stories by Robert A. Garron

A kidnapping for love, a ship full of Nazi spies, a robbery/homicide and a man who snapped. A full line-up of crime.

Book Details

Book Details

English Knife – Four Stories: A kidnapping for love, a ship full of Nazi spies, a robbery/homicide and a man who snapped. A full line-up of crime.

For No Ransom (1940)
Fleischer had laid his plans with consummate skill, and the kidnapping went through without a hitch. Only the accident of a voice heard over the radio told Phil where his sweetheart was

The 15th Pocket (1936)
In fourteen of the dead man’s pockets there was something. What had the lower vest pocket held? Handrahan knows that one of the three women in the case holds the secret

Don’t Do It, Mister! (1943)
He’d married Eleanor because she was so dumb! He’d really wanted a dumb wife. And now for that same reason he wanted to murder her!

The English Knife (1942)
Perhaps it was because of a girl that the detective agreed to go halfway around the world for an old lady. But it was grim Nazi humor that gave him his chance to save not only his sweetheart but dozens of other victims
Chapter II – The Elk’s Tooth
Chapter III – Foreign Correspondent
Chapter IV – Brazilian Interlude
Chapter V – Like a Motion Picture
Chapter VI – “Missionaries”
Chapter VII – The Cliptical Sort
Chapter VIII – The Second Toy
Chapter IX – Simple Magic

English Knife has 29 illustrations.

Robert A. Garron was a pseudonym of Howard Wandrei (1909-1956). Howard Wandrei was the brother of Donald Wandrei, the better-known writer of the two due to Howard’s use of numerous pseudonyms. In fact, Howard wrote over 200 stories across many genres.

PDS1942 06 English Knife by Robert A. Garron
Private Detective June, 1942


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Excerpt: For No Ransom

ALMOST certain that she was being followed, Edie Barrett abruptly crossed the sidewalk at right angles and stood watching the reflection of passers-by in a shop window. She entered the small lingerie shop and bought a pair of stockings while she looked out.

The man who was following her, Lester Marks, was shrewd enough in his profession, and he wasn’t going to be taken in by that amateurish trick. He continued on his way. He was a private investigator, altogether unscrupulous according to circumstances. The present assignment intrigued him, because he was receiving a fee too generous for the degree of snooping required. His employer, Otto Fleischer, had discovered the girl’s beat and pointed her out. The rest was up to Marks: Get her name, address, circumstances.

All Marks knew about her so far was that she was scandalously well-proportioned. He hadn’t feasted his eyes on anything so yum-yum in quite some time, so he could guess in a general way what Fleischer was up to. Dawdling with a cigarette at the corner, he spotted Edie again at ten minutes of one.

When she crossed the street, he stayed on his side. He saw her use the employees’ entrance of a department store, and nodded. After a couple of drinks he visited the store to spot her, having given her time enough to put her stuff in her locker and get back on the job. He failed to sight her anywhere in the store, for the reason that she was a junior executive in the training department and seldom appeared on the floor.

Marks killed the afternoon in an upstairs danceland, not dancing with the hostesses, but sitting at a table in the dim light with the prettiest girl. That is, with the required railing between them but not necessarily separating them. On the expense account. The girl wore a black dress without shoulder straps, fitting just tight enough so that it wouldn’t peel away from her young bosom. Her name was Luella, and she agreed that it was a gyp for him to put out fourteen dollars for such business as she was able to do with him, but if he would like to meet her on such and such a corner . . . Marks knew about those wholly imaginary corners.

A  FEW minutes after six, he was back on the job, having spotted Edie in the crowd of employees piling out of the department store. The rest was easy.

She hurried into a subway entrance and took an express train which he made also. She got out at Fourteenth Street, and he took the exit across the street from the one she used. He followed her down into the village, and, as he passed by casually, he saw her enter a four-story house converted into apartments. He came back; propped both elbows on an iron railing and crossed his legs; shortly he saw lights go on in a pair of windows on the third floor. He crossed the street and looked at the names on the row of mailboxes. The box from which she had taken a couple of envelopes bore the name Edith B. Barrett. He noticed that there were two blank nameplates. In a few minutes he was in a phone booth talking to Fleischer.

Edie was on the phone, also, talking with big Phil Evanson. As soon as Phil was able to see things her way, they would get married. Both were stubborn, and she was not going to quit her job no matter how much money he had. First she wanted to do something. Call it a career. There was a major advancement for her in the offing, in fashion, in which she was good. They were delaying in making up their minds only because she was so young. Married, she wouldn’t get that job, because she would cease to be a good “risk”. Babies eventually, not right yet. She was young, there was plenty of time.

“So you don’t want me around just as a plain-ordinary girl-friend, huh?” she had asked with mock melancholy.

“You know what I want you for,” he had replied, sourly.

“What for?” she teased.

“On account of a voice with little silver bells in it. There isn’t any such voice; as the guy from Texas remarked, I won’t believe it even if I see it; I’ve got to get hold of it in my hands.”


TONIGHT she was saying, “Phil, “I’m sure a man has been following me.”

“It’s me,” he said darkly. “Me, with my little butterfly net.”

“I’m serious.” She told him about the episode uptown.

“Don’t you know by this time that you’ve got legs?” he asked. “Quite some legs, and so on.”

“When I got in just now, I peeked out the window. And a man was coming across from the other side of the street. He was in the foyer for only a minute, and then he went away.”

“Did he ring your bell?”

“No, but I think he was the same man.”

“What does he look like?”

“I couldn’t see. You know how dark it is on this street.”

“You’re working too hard. Quit.”

“I’m going to get that fashion job.”

“Do you want me to come down?”

“Please. And can you stay? Do you mind the little hall room? I’ve got the craziest feeling that something’s going to happen to me.”

A crazy plot was hatching, but she had forgotten about her scare when Fleischer, called “Fleshy” by those who knew him well, knocked on her door one night the following week.

Excerpt From: Robert A. Garron. “For No Ransom”

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