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Dan Turner—Hollywood Detective, February, 1943
It was a screwball situation. Here was Dan, sitting at home and minding his own business,
when the knock came at his front door. A short time later he was in a lavish apartment a few
miles away, where he had been convoyed at the point of a gun, and a beautiful cutie he had
never seen before was calling him “Dan, darling” and implying that they were old sweeties!
WAS slightly plastered that evening or I
might not have fallen for the gag. But the
Scotch had lulled my suspicious nature; so
I answered right away when somebody
knocked on the front door of my apartment
stash and said: “Telegram for Dan Turner.”
The instant I opened the portal I realized
I’d made a bad mistake. Instead of a
messenger boy, my visitor was a swarthy
creep named Pedro Romelo—a tall, lanky
Latin who played minor villain roles in
Cosmotone horse operas and carried his
villainy around with him in private life.
He had a narrow, mulish puss with black
sideburns running down past his ears to
emphasize the glitter in his slitted glims, and
he affected a costume that belonged only on a
studio set—velvet pants flaring at the cuffs,
high heeled boots, a Spanish jacket over a
pink silk shirt open at the throat to show how
hairy his chest was. As soon as I tabbed him, I
knew I was in for trouble in copious
quantities. He and I had crossed swords in the
past, and he bore little love for me. In fact,
what he bore for me at the moment was a
pearl-handled .28 automatic.
Dan Turner—Hollywood Detective 2
He grinned as he thrust the roscoe against
my favorite vest. “Want a hole in your tweeds,
“No, thanks. The noise might disturb the
neighbors.” I glued the measuring glimpse on
him; I wondered how much chance I had of
swatting his rod aside and planting a set of
fives on his sneery panorama. I concluded he
was too close to me for that kind of risk. I
didn’t have enough room to swing.
He seemed to guess my thoughts. “Make a
move for your shoulder holster and I let you
have it,” he warned me.
“You needn’t bother, bub. What cooks?”
“Wait and see. I got a taxi waiting. Let’s
go for a ride. If you whistle copper even once,
you’ll be minus a kidney. Savvy?”
I said: “Yeah. So I won’t whistle copper.”
He reached under my coat, frisked me for
the .32 I always tote in an armpit rig. Then he
pocketed both heaters, mine and his own; kept
his mitt on the little .28 so its muzzle made a
bulge in my direction through the cloth. “Get
E WENT down to his Yellow and it
ferried us out to the Tower Arms on
Sunset. Presently Romelo prodded me into a
lavish layout on the seventh floor; closed the
door after us. I set fire to a gasper; took a
hinge around the joint.
The blue carpet must have cost a peck of
kopecks, its thick pile seething up around your
ankles when you walked on it. All the
furniture was modernistic: glass-andchromium tables, blue drapes, metal-andleather chairs. A screwy floor lamp cast
indirect light against the ceiling and the glow
bounced back down around a blue leather
divan. When I piped this divan, I widened my
peepers and choked: “What the—?”
There was a blonde quail stretched out on
the glossy cushions, trussed hand and hoof
with knotted ropes. Her piquant pan would
have been gorgeous even without its heavymakeup.
It wasn’t her she-male beauty that floored
me, though. It was the way she greeted me.
“Dan, d-darling!” she moaned.
I gave vent to strangled noises, because I
wasn’t her Dan darling. As a matter of fact I’d
never seen her before in my life—and I’ve got
an address book as wide as your wrist.
Evidently I’d been overlooking a bet
Then, while I was struggling to cope with
this screwball situation, the Romelo rodent
maced me over the head with his cannon.
HEN consciousness rejoined me, I was
slumped in a chair with my wrists and
ankles tied like a Christmas goose. There was
a lump on my thatch the size of Grant’s Tomb
and I had a headache built for an elephant.
The wren on the divan twisted around to
hang the gander on me, being careful not to
disarrange her golden coiffure. “Poor Dan,”
she whimpered. “I’m so sorry, honey.”
Pedro Romelo sneered down at me.
“Ready to spill, gumshoe?”
I said: “Yeah. Ready to spill your
clockworks all over the precinct as soon as I
get loose from these ropes.”
“Don’t be that way, pal. The only thing
it’ll buy you is some more lumps. I want Mort
Pollak’s key.”
I twitched as if I’d been jabbed with a
lighted cigar. Until recently, Mort Pollak had
been a .22 caliber talent agent in Hollywood—
a crooked heel who used his offices on the
Sunset Strip to mask any number of illegal
shenanigans. Mort had made the serious error
of committing first degree killery on one of
his lady friends during a blackmailing
operation, and I’d pinned it on him. As a
result, the State convicted him and rendered
him defunct in the gas house at San Quentin.
I had no regrets about this. Pollack was
guilty, he took the rap, and that was that. But I
didn’t know anything about his keys and I said
so, emphatically. I’d have used gestures but
my dukes were too well tied.
Homicide Hunch 3
Romelo leaned down, breathed in my
kisser. “You lie, Sherlock. You’ve got it and I
want it.”
“Maybe you’d better explain what key you
mean,” I tried to spar him away.
He said: “Look. Pollak stashed ten grand
in a safety deposit box somewhere in town
just before you sent him over the road. I think
you’ve been waiting all these weeks for the
heat to die before you open the box and glom
that cabbage. But you waited too long, see! I
found out about it and I’m cutting in for the
whole wad. Pollak owed me about that much,
anyhow. So this is where I collect—when you
give me the key.”
“Nuts to you,” I grunted. “You’re as
haywire as snowballs in San Diego.”
“You think you can dummy up on me,
hunh?” He took mincing steps across the
room. “So okay. Start belching or I get rough
with your sweetie, here.” He meant the doll on
the couch.
I said: “She’s not my sweetie, so go ahead.
I don’t even know her name.”
That drew a sobbing protest from the
golden-haired jane, together with a
reproachful stare. “Dan, darling, how c-can
you say such a thing when we’ve meant so
much to each other?”
“How much have we meant to each other,
“Oh-h-h, p-please, don’t try to keep up the
pretense. There’s no use lying to Romelo. I’ve
already t-told him you and I are engaged. He .
. . f-forced me to. I tried to k-keep it a secret,
but he beat me w-with his fists.”
I said: “So that’s why he nudged me up
“Yes.” Then she began whimpering as the
Latin louse bent over her, and started slapping.
First his right hand would smack her cheek;
then his left would jolt her the other way. She
couldn’t stop him on account of the ropes that
bound her helplessly.
HE guy was thoroughly business-like, I’ll
say that much for him. I strained at my
own bonds, but all I drew were some chafed
places on my wrists and an assortment of
blisters on my disposition.
“Dan . . . !” the gazelle wailed faintly.
“Don’t let him . . . I can’t st-stand it. . . !”
“I guess you’ll have to, hon. What can I
“Tell him wh-where the k-key is. Please!”
For an instant this didn’t make any more
sense to me than six aces in a poker deck.
Then, suddenly, I caught hep to what she was
driving at. “Okay, skunk,” I yelled to Romelo.
“Lay off her. I’ll spill.”
He bent his narrow puss in a smile.
“That’s much better. Now—give!”
“I haven’t got it on me. You know that.
You probably frisked me while I was
“Sure I did. So just tell me where to find
I fished a quick lie out of my think-tank.
“It’s in the lower left desk drawer of my office
downtown, in a small envelope. Know where
my office is?”
“Yeah. And if this is on the level I’ll come
back, turn you and your sweetie loose.
Otherwise; it’s going to be just too bad.” He
went to the door; powdered.
S SOON as I couldn’t hear his footfalls
in the corridor any longer, I copped an
irate hinge at the yellow-haired dish on the
divan. “A fine kettle of herring,” I growled.
“I know. Please d-don’t blame m-me. I
was at my wits’ end or I wouldn’t have ddragged you into the mess, Mr. Turner.” At
least she had quit calling me darling, I noticed.
I said: “How’s for spooning me the
lowdown? Who are you, and what’s the
“My n-name is June Dawne. I was Mort
Pollak’s g-girl-friend once upon a time; long
before you fastened that m-murder on him.”
“Oh. And you held it against me, eh?”
Dan Turner—Hollywood Detective 4
“Not at all,” she said swiftly. “He got what
was coming to him. That’s not the p-point.”
“What is the point, then?”
She drew a deep breath. “Pedro Romelo kkidnaped me because he knew I used to be
friendly with Pollak. Pedro figured I’d know
about the key to Pollak’s strongbox.”
“But I didn’t know any m-more about it
than you do. No matter how hard Pedro b-beat
me, I couldn’t t-tell him anything. He
wouldn’t believe me, though. He thought I
was holding out.”
I said sarcastically: “So you issued me an
invitation to your troubles.”
“Yes,” she blushed through the admission.
“I needed help; and I knew of your reputation
as a clever detective. I f-fibbed to Romelo;
told him you were my fiancé. I also told him
you had Pollak’s k-key.”
“Mighty nice of you. What was the idea?”
“Isn’t it rather obvious? I figured Romelo
would b-bring you here, which he did. And I
figured you’d help me.”
“Which I didn’t,” I said sourly.
Her glims widened. “Oh, but you have
helped me! You’ve chased Romelo off on a ffalse trail. He’ll be gone at least an hour or
“And when he comes back without the
key, he’ll convert me into undertaker bait,” I
made a bitter mouth.
“He won’t even f-find you here. Me either.
I’ve been w-working on these ropes for quite a
while. My wrists are just about loose.” She
tugged, and her mitts slipped out of the knots.
I glued the flabbergasted gaze on her as
she sat up and started working on her ankle
fetters. Presently they fell away and she
drifted toward me. She dredged a penknife out
of my pants pocket; hacked me free of the
cords that trussed me. When I finally stood
upright, I spent a full minute trying to get the
circulation back into my arms and legs.
The chick watched me sympathetically.
She piped: “Isn’t there anything I can do to
make up for pulling you into danger?”
“You can do this, babe,” I grunted. Then I
slid my arms around her; helped myself to a
kiss. She didn’t object, apparently. At least
she didn’t struggle.
SANK my mitts in her shoulders, held her
at arm’s length and shook the daylights out
of her. “Okay, tramp. Now come clean or I’ll
take you apart from your beauty!” I snarled.
“Wh-what do you m-mean?”
“I mean you’ve been feeding me a lot of
horse-radish. To start with, Pedro Romelo
didn’t slug you with his fists. Your hair isn’t
even mussed.”
I rasped: “In the second place, it would be
impossible for you to loosen any of Romelo’s
knots. I tried it without making so much as a
dent in them.”
A scared look slithered into her optics.
“And in the third place, Mort Pollak never
had any ten grand stashed in a safety deposit
box,” I said. “If he’d had that amount of
geetus, he’d have hired a mouthpiece to
defend him at his murder trial to keep him
from going to the gas chamber.”
“Wait. Listen—”
“Quiet!” I growled. “This whole thing
smells like a plant of some sort. A frame. You
and Pedro Romelo ran a whizzer on me; and I
yearn to know why.”
Her pan went three shades paler than
adulterated milk. “You’ve g-got to trust me,
Mr. Turner. . . D-Dan. . . .” Then her arms
coiled around my neck.
I was a sucker, of course. A guy in his
right mind would have laid a haymaker on her
dimple and scrammed. But this golden-haired
honey was a lovely bowl of cherries, and I
never could resist natural blondes, anyhow. I
remembered later she seemed to be listening
for something. Suddenly she tightened her
grip ‘round my neck; pulled me close. “Dan
darling. . . kiss me . . . my sweet. . .” she
Homicide Hunch 5
begged loudly.
From the doorway a voice raged: “You
dirty bum!”
I bounced three feet straight up in the
ozone; landed upright and squinted stupidly at
the party who’d just ankled in. He was a bald,
middle aged bozo with a puss like a full moon
and glims that blazed like bonfires. Oddly
enough, I recognized him. He was a
Cosmotone director by the name of Maxie
Shannon, an expert on cheapie westerns. He
directed most of the horse operas in which
Pedro Romelo played minor villains.
Now he lurched toward me, frothing at the
yap. “So you’re the dirty louse who’s been
stealing my wife!”
I said: “Hey, wait. Is this jessie your
“She’s not yours, anyway. Although
anybody’d think so. I’ve got a good notion
Even as he swung on me, a roscoe
sneezed: “Ka-Chow!” from the kitchenette
doorway. Baldy toppled forward on his
profile, slugged a dent in the carpet with his
trumpet. He was deceased before he stopped
Then the concealed heater blasted again,
and a hornet stung me over the ear; put
another crease in my haircut. The impact
short-circuited my fuses. I went bye-bye.
HEN I snapped out of my trance,
Maxie Shannon’s remainders lay
sprawled in front of me. The only thing new
about him was an automatic in his wilted right
duke and a scrap of paper in his left—neither
of which had been there when he got creamed.
I dragged myself closer to his carcass;
took a blurry hinge at the scrap of paper. It
was an anonymous note telling him that his
ever-loving frau was playing around with
another man, and giving the address of this
blue-and-chrome tepee. Which explained why
the poor slob had busted in, accused me of
playing fast and loose with his home life.
But who had shot him from the kitchenette
and then tried to push a pill through my skull?
Who had planted a gun and a note in
Shannon’s defunct clutch? I couldn’t ask
anybody, because there was nobody in the
joint to talk to. The blonde doll had taken it on
the lam while I was senseless; I was all alone
with the bald bozo’s remnants.
I staggered to my pins, stuck a gasper in
my face, set it on fire. The smoke helped, but
not much. There was a cellarette in one
corner, though, and I found some first aid in it.
Ordinarily I never guzzle gin, but gin was all I
could see. I sloshed about a pint of it past my
tonsils; waited for it to do its work. Presently I
began to feel normal.
With normalcy came another discovery. I
lamped a .32 automatic on the floor;
recognized it as mine—the one Pedro Romelo
had lifted out of my armpit rig when he first
put the snatch on me at my own apartment
stash. It had been fired recently. You could
smell the burned cordite in the muzzle.
Then I caught hep to the setup. Romelo
was the rodent who had drilled his director,
Maxie Shannon. And he’d pulled the kill with
my personal rod.
But how had he got back into this igloo? I
knew he hadn’t come in through the front
doorway or I’d have spotted him entering,
since I hadn’t been out of the room at any
time. There was no back door, either; I
checked on that. Moreover, none of the
apartment windows opened on a fire escape,
so that theory was nixed.
In brief, the front door was the only
possibility; yet the Latin louse hadn’t returned
that way. To make it worse, this front portal
was now locked and bolted on the inside!
Which meant Romelo and the blonde
cupcake hadn’t departed by the doorway route
after Shannon was chilled. And a seventh
floor stash was too high for them to have
jumped out the window without serious
damage to their complexions. Yet they were
gone, leaving my guilty roscoe behind them.
Dan Turner—Hollywood Detective 6
So there I was with a guy who’d been
croaked with some of my private bullets—and
suddenly I heard a pounding on the door. A
voice said: “Open up in there. The law.”
COULD guess what had happened. Some
nosey neighbor had reported the sounds of
gunfire; put in a bleat to the bulls. Now I stood
a good chance of being jerked to the bastile on
a homicide beef—and the frame might stick,
too, when you considered how the set had
been dressed. I was alone with a corpse in a
locked room, my cannon was responsible for
the killery, and I had no witnesses to
substantiate the screwy truth.
I prodded my mental machinery into high
gear while the cop out in the corridor renewed
his pounding. There had to be another way out
of this wikiup; otherwise Pedro Romelo and
the golden-haired tomato would still be in my
midst. The question was, which way had they
Then I tumbled. There was a dumb waiter
in the kitchenette—one of those pint-size
elevators they use in the swankier joints to
lower the garbage and bring up the morning
milk. So that was how the Romelo polecat had
returned to blast his director and frame me. It
was also how he and Shannon’s blonde widow
made their subsequent getaway.
I went into action. I scooped up my
automatic, holstered it. I also grabbed the
other gun—the one in Shannon’s defunct fist.
I put this in my pocket, and then I dragged the
murdered guy into the kitchenette; crammed
him into the dumb waiter. I lowered him until
I felt the cage touch bottom; slid my own heft
down the cable just as the cop smashed his
way into the living room.
I wasn’t in the clear, though. Not by a long
distance. A basement is no place to find
yourself with a cadaver on your hands when
the law is on the prowl. Luckily enough, I
piped an empty galvanized trash can nearby; a
big one with a lid on it. I lifted the lid, stuffed
Maxie Shannon inside, covered him. Two
minutes later I ankled into the rear alley and
I pelted once around the block and then
skulked toward my parked jalopy. No other
bulls were in evidence, so I slid under the
wheel and drove off as if nothing had
happened. It was like shooting fish.
Now I was in the clear; and the sensible
thing to do was go home, forget all about the
Shannon bump-off. Nobody could possibly
finger me, the way things stood. I’d been
lucky enough to bust myself out of a nasty
But I wasn’t satisfied to dismiss the frame
Pedro Romelo had tried to drape on me. I
craved large slices of vengeance, and there
was just one way to collect. That would be to
put Pedro’s sideburns in the cooler. Maybe the
blonde jessie, too.
STOPPED at a druggery, bought some
adhesive tape for my damaged dome and
thumbed the phone book; got Maxie
Shannon’s address. It was on a swanky street
just this side of the Beverly Hills line. I rolled
there in a hurry.
A cute little French maid opened up to my
ring. “I am sorree, monsieur. My mistress is
not at home. Neither is Monsieur Shannon. I
do not know when they will return.”
I could have told her Shannon never
would, except in a mahogany box. But I kept
it to myself and said: “Okay, sweets. I’d just
as soon talk to you another time. What are you
doing next Thursday night?”
She blushed. “Madame does not give me
any time off. Besides, I do not know you,
“You will, in time. Meanwhile I’d like
some questions answered.” I gave her a squint
at my special badge.
Her dark peepers popped. ‘‘You are a
policeman, no?”
“No, I am a policeman, yes. Just a private
snoop looking for some inside dope.”
“Concerning my employers? Mais non,
Homicide Hunch 7
monsieur. It is not ethical for a servant to
repeat gossip.”
GRABBED her gently but firmly; pulled
her close to me. “Now look, Frenchie. I like
you, see? Your glims are like stars. Your
stems belong behind footlights.”
“I think I comprehend, monsieur,” she
“Good. Now are we going to be pals, or do
I have to slap the ears off you?”
“But—but this is fantastic, monsieur!”
“It’ll be catastrophic unless you tell me
what I want to know. We’ll start with Mrs.
Shannon. What was her maiden name?”
“Wh-why, Pollak. June Pollak.”
“Does she love her hubby?”
“I—I do not think so.”
“Has she any boy friends?”
“Oui. But I shall not give you his name.
Hit me if you wish.” I kissed her instead; then
I barged back to my bucket, fed it a ration of
FTER a while I anchored in the alley
behind the Tower Arms on Sunset;
gumshoed down to the basement. It was no
job at all to lift Maxie Shannon’s shell out of
the trash can where I’d left him; but when I
began probing at his bald spot with the long
blade of my pocket knife, it wasn’t so easy.
Surgery isn’t in my line.
I kept at it, though, and presently I had the
slug that had joined him with the angels. I
lugged him out to my coupe and propped him
in it. Then, on a hunch, I went back down the
steps to hunt for a janitor’s phone.
Sure enough, I located one. In a trice I was
connected with the chromium-and-blue
apartment on the seventh floor, which by now
was apparently infested with homicide dicks
called from headquarters by the copper who’d
busted in. A familiar voice answered my ring.
I said ‘‘Lieutenant Donaldson, please.”
“This is Donaldson.”
“Turner talking,” I said. “How would you
like to put the arm on Maxie Shannon’s
Dave yowled: “Shannon? So that’s where
all this gore came from! But how did you
know about it? How do you know he’s been
bumped? How did you figure I’d be here
investigating a case without a corpus delicti—
“Stow the questions, cousin. Listen.” I
gave him some hurried suggestions; rang off
before he could demand details. Then I went
out to my iron; headed for LaBrea. I had to
drive with one hand and hold Shannon’s
corpse with the other.
EDRO ROMELO’S wigwam was a cheap
cottage in a bungalow court. I toted the
late Maxie Shannon onto the front porch,
braced him before me as a shield; rang the
Romelo’s voice filtered through the thin
woodwork. “Who is it and I don’t want any.”
“Telegram for Mr. Romelo, sir,” I hooked
him with the same gag he’d used on me.
He opened up. I thrust Shannon at him like
a ventriloquist’s dummy and disguised my
tone: “You thought you killed me but you
made a mistake, you stinking skunk.”
The lanky Latin let out a yeep you could
have heard from Wyoming to Woonsocket.
Then he pulled his little .28 and began
I felt the bald director’s husk jerking in my
grasp as the slugs bunted him in the chest.
Then I let him topple as Romelo’s roscoe
clicked empty. Romelo got his first gander at
me, and his peepers bulged like squeezed
grapes. “Y-you—!”
“Yeah,” I said, and handcuffed him.
Then a wildcat hit me in the shape of
Maxie Shannon’s blonde widow. She tried to
claw my optics out of their sockets, but I
objected to this. How could I appreciate her
gorgeousness without my glims? And she was
gorgeous; no doubt about it.
I swatted her with my open duke; put
Dan Turner—Hollywood Detective 8
everything I had behind the poke. It almost
tore her profile off. She sat down on the rug,
glassy-eyed as a ten day drunk.
Romelo rattled the nippers on his wrists.
“Wh-what’s the idea of—?”
I gave him a pleasant smile. “You’re under
arrest for croaking Maxie Shannon. You were
smitten with his wife, but Maxie probably
refused her a divorce. So the two of you
decided to fix him up with a nice resting place
in some graveyard.”
“You—you can’t—”
I said: “You also decided to make a
double-barreled job while you were at it.
Oddly enough, Mrs. Shannon happens to be
the late unlamented Mort Pollak’s sister; so
naturally she harbored a thick grudge against
me for sending him to the smoke chamber a
few months back. Therefore the scheme was
to murder Shannon and pin it on me.”
“Prove it!”
“Okay. You rented that Tower Arms
apartment temporarily, as a scene of
operations. You lured me there; fed me a silly
story about a missing strong box key—which
was a lot of nonsense. In a little while, you
left; but you sneaked right back in again by
the dumb waiter.”
“The jane staged a little act with me.
Meanwhile, you had sent Shannon a note
telling him his wife was at that address with
another man. Shannon walked in, spotted her
in my arms; whereupon you corpsed him from
the kitchenette with my rod.”
“Do tell,” he sneered politely.
I said: “Yeah. Next, you tried to cream me
with a second gun. The slug notched me on
the noggin but failed to render me defunct.
You didn’t know this, though. You figured I
was dead. So you put the second cannon in
Maxie’s mitt, tossed mine on the floor; made
it look as if we’d burned each other down in a
pistol duel. You locked up the wigwam from
inside; and finally you took your girl friend
down the dumb waiter.”
OMELO bared his grinders. “A very
clever song, Hawkshaw. The only trouble
is, you can’t make it stick.”
“Sure I can. Or anyhow enough of it to
make you sniff cyanide. You just emptied a
whole clip of pills into Maxie, which inserts
your nose in a wringer.”
“They can’t execute me for shooting holes
in corpses. He was dead when you shoved him
at me. The bullet that killed him came out of
your automatic.”
“How would you know that?”
“Because I—” All of a sudden he turned
gray around the edges. “Oh, my God!” he
I stepped aside so he could see Dave
Donaldson standing on the porch getting an
earful. “A nice confession, eh, Dave?”
Dave grunted: “Yeah,” and used his own
cuffs to nipper the yellow-haired Shannon
widow. “Up on your tootsies, sis. Let’s all go
down to the jug.”
So I didn’t have to wait until Thursday
night for my date with the French maid, after
all. Her employer was deceased and her
mistress was pinched for it, so she had her
evenings free.

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  2. Always online. We take care of the service, so we can provide you highest level of service availability
  3. Unlimited hard drive space - no limits, no megabytes. Just upload anything you like and we will convert it to PDF (if this file is convertible)

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