Dead Don't Care (Bill Crane, Book 4)
Publish Year note: First published in 1938
In sun-soaked Florida, Crane pursues a kidnapper in between drinksIt does not take much to lure Bill Crane to Florida in the wintertime. The weather would be temptation enough, but the fact that there is money to be made and gin to be drunk makes a trip to Key Largo irresistible. His ever-soused companion, Doc Williams, at his side, Crane sets out south to find out who has been threatening millionaire playboy Penn Essex with blackmail notes, first on his pillow, then in his wallet, demanding $50,000—"or else."
But as Crane soon learns, the threat is not to Penn, but to his sister.When beautiful young Camelia is kidnapped, Crane and Doc look for traitors inside the family circle. Lurching from cocktail hour to cocktail hour, they will do everything they can to find the missing girl, knowing that murderers—and hangovers—could strike at any moment.
News to Crane, pointed a finger at a classified advertisement in the personal column. It read: Money is ready. Please contact. ESSEX “So you did decide to pay the ransom,” Crane said, passing the paper to O’Malley. Essex said, “We put ads in all the Miami papers.” “It’s going to be interesting when The Eye contacts you,” Crane said. “I’ve never yet heard of a foolproof way of receiving a ransom. Are you going to let the police in on it?” “I don’t know,” said Essex. “Certainly we are.”
beds beside the wooden houses were insignificant beside the explosive colors of vines and trees. Magentas, ochers, creams, ultramarines, lemons, ecrus, coquelicots, hennas made a subtropical tartan of the city. The tints were dew fresh, bright. Williams asked, “What was the name of the clerk in the hotel?” “Miss Sharpley,” Crane said. “Oh yeah.” Williams grinned. “I was thinking it ought to be Miss Shapely.” They turned the corner toward the telegraph office and found Sloppy Joe’s. “Three
grew where the base touched the earth. Damp, dank air clogged their noses. “How the hell’s The Eye going to pick the money up here?” O’Malley demanded. “It does seem odd.” “In broad daylight too.” Back of them was the canal. It disappeared two hundred yards away in a jungle of palmettos, sugar cane and tall brush. They were unable to see how much further it went. Ahead was the bay, pale green, and further the Atlantic. It was very bright outside the shadow of the bridge. “He must be going to
knew I’d have him hung.” “Would you put your own head in a noose to get him for your sister’s murder?” Essex was silent. Wilson asked, “If your sister is alive how will we get her back?” “We’ll just have to wait.” “Will they return her without word from Tortoni?” Essex’ voice cracked with anguish. “That’s what I don’t know. I thought if they heard the ransom was paid they’d let her go. That’s why I collected the ransom.” “Sure,” said Crane. “You were just trying to help your sister. You
brought him to. His hands and feet were bound with cord. He could feel the heat of the two engines, could smell gasoline and oil. A voice said, “You two move and we’ll plug ya,” and Tony Lamphier dropped heavily beside him, half across his feet, half on the cabin floor. He could feel warm blood trickling over his forehead, down his cheek. His ears roared; his head was filled with exquisite pain; he would have liked to hold his head with his hands, but they were tied. It was dark in the cabin. A