Nemesis – Two Novelettes by William P. McGivern
Two stories, one of a very clever plan gone awry, and the other of a conspiracy to frame a random innocent man for murder.
Nemesis – two stories, one of a very clever plan gone awry, and the other of a conspiracy to frame a random innocent man for murder.
Send Along A Wreath (1947)
“Put me on that train!” she begged. And Jeff O’Neill delivered — but not the way they planned.
A five chapter novelette.
Somebody seemed bent on Larry Kent’s destruction. Yet he didn’t have an enemy in the world!
A thirteen chapter novelette.
William Peter McGivern (1918-1982) was an American novelist and television scriptwriter. He published more than 20 novels, mostly mysteries and crime thrillers. While mostly known as a crime novelist, McGivern also wrote a large number of science fiction stories for magazines like Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures during the 1940s and 1950s.
McGivern moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s to write for television and film. His credits include the TV series Ben Casey, Adam-12, and Kojak. In 1980 he was elected President of the Mystery Writers of America.
Nemesis – Two Novelettes has 4 illustrations.
Excerpt: Send Along a Wreath
GEOFFERY O’NEILL’S office was a small two-room affair on the tenth floor of a business building in Chicago’s Loop. The uncarpeted reception room contained a leather sofa, a desk and telephone and several chairs. O’Neill’s inner sanctum contained a desk, a comfortable reclining chair and two filing cabinets. The window faced the brick wall of the adjoining building—one of the reasons O’Neill had chosen the office. He liked the feeling of a brick wall at his back when he working at his desk.
The green-shaded desk lamp was on now, throwing a huge shadow against the Venetian blinds and high-lighting the planes of his square, rugged face. A cigarette burned in an ashtray on the desk, its smoke curling in a blue spiral to the ceiling.
He was working through a pile of dusty papers and yellowed correspondence — the accrued residue of six years as an unofficial investigator for the State’s Attorney. The papers and letters, which he had removed from the steel filing cabinets, were in reference to cases he had handled, and some of them still contained enough dynamite to blow sections of the city wide open.
Letters of that type he burned in the metal waste basket at the side of his chair.
He was smiling as he re-read a letter of fervent appreciation from a United States senator. The man had gotten into a mess over a few careless letters he had written. O’Neill had recovered the letters for him and that had been that. But in his letter of almost pathetic gratitude the senator had created another instrument which, in the wrong hands, could be just as damaging as the original letters which O’Neill had recovered.
O’Neill touched a match to the corner of the yellowed letter and dropped it into the waste basket.
He was picking up another batch of correspondence when there was a discreet tap on the door of the outer office. O’Neill glanced up from his work and saw the figure of a woman outlined against the frosted glass door of the outer office.
The knock was repeated.
With an irritated shake of his head he walked through the front office and opened the door. The woman who stood in the doorway was tall and blonde. Her face under a black lace veil looked anxious.
“My name is Estelle Moran,” she said. “Can I talk to you a minute, Mr. O’Neill?”
O’Neill saw that she was a woman of about thirty, extremely well dressed. She was slenderly built, finely proportioned and her silken legs were stunning.
“What did you want to see me about?” he asked.
“May I come in?” the woman asked. “I’m in desperate trouble and I need your help.”
She spoke quietly but there was a desperate urgency underlying her words. He frowned and glanced at his watch.
“Can’t you drop in tomorrow?” he asked. “I’m pretty busy . . .”
“Tomorrow will be too late,” the women said, and O’Neill saw that her black-gloved hands were twisted together tightly. “Please let me talk to you for a moment now.”
O’Neill sighed, switched on the light in the outer office and stepped away from the door.
“Come on in,” he said.
SHE walked past him into the office and he caught the fragrance of perfume in her wake. He closed the door and pointed to a chair.
“Take a seat,” he said.
He lit a cigarette and sat down on the arm of the leather sofa.
“Now what’s on your mind?” he asked.
“My life is in danger,” the woman said quietly. She lifted the veil from her face as she spoke and O’Neill knew from the expression about her eyes that she wasn’t indulging in melodramatics. The muscles in her neck were taut and beneath her make-up her skin was deathly pale. She was close to hysteria from pure terror.
“You mean someone intends to kill you?” O’Neill asked.
“Yes,” the woman said.
“What makes you so sure? Has someone tried?”
“Not yet,” the woman said. “But as surely as I sit here I won’t be alive tomorrow unless you help me. I have money, lots of it. And I have a reservation on tomorrow’s Chief for California. Here’s my proposition; if you put me on that train tomorrow and stay with me until it pulls out of the station, I’ll pay you one thousand dollars.”
O’Neill looked at the woman closely. She wasn’t kidding. He ran one of his big hands slowly through his unruly, reddish-brown hair and then stared deliberately at the tip of his cigarette.
“That’s a pretty stiff price for a bodyguard,” he said. “I could name you a dozen good ones who’d do the job for fifty bucks. Why do you want me?”
Excerpt From: William P. McGivern. “Nemesis.”
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