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Bill Pronzini’s nameless detective has a reason to celebrate. He got his private investigator’s license back and a new assignment on the same day. Arleen Bradford wants him to locate her estranged father who’s been a hobo riding the rails for some time. The family’s come into some money and Arleen thinks her father should have his share. Her sister, Hannah, disagrees and tries to persuade Nameless not to look for him. But Arleen’s a paying client and her intentions appear to be more honorable than her sister’s. Complicating Nameless’ life is a request from an old police friend, now out of work, to become Nameless’ partner, something Nameless isn’t sure would work.
“Nope.” “Freight come through since then bound for Pasco?” “Yesterday morning,” Flint said. “So Bradford—G–Man—could have hopped it.” “Could have, but he didn’t. Me and Woody and Toledo was all over there when she pulled in; we seen the tramps that got aboard. G–Man wasn’t one of ’em.” “There been any other northbound freight?” “Nope,” the black man, Toledo, said. “Next one’s due tomorrow morning.” I considered that. Then I asked, “The streamliner happen to mention his name?” “Not that I
cowcatcher and part of her blunt nose. There was no longer any steam coming out of the exhaust, and the boiler had been shut down; no sounds drifted over from there, or from anywhere else in the vicinity. If Raymond was inside the roundhouse he was doing something pretty quiet. He was inside, all right; I had been standing there waiting and watching for five minutes when he appeared alongside the locomotive and came walking outside. He paused long enough to light a cigar, take a couple of deep
at me. A different kind of light, artificial-looking and faintly greenish, spilled into the car from outside. I looked away from them and out through the door. The freight yards. The artificial-looking light was coming from the strings of sodium vapor arcs that crisscrossed the work areas. It made the rails gleam, and for a couple of seconds I imagined they were moving, writhing along the ground like big silver snakes. The smells of oil and hot metal came to me from somewhere; I thought I was
it go then?” I gave her a capsule account of the conversation I’d had with him. “Sounds grim,” she said. “Have you made up your mind yet about the partnership?” “No. I will pretty soon, though. Pretty soon.” She was silent for a couple of seconds. Then she gave me an up-from-under look, one of those shrewd jobs of hers. “What about your Chinese girlfriend?” she said. “Did you talk to her today?” “Ah, Kerry, come on. There’s nothing between Jeanne Emerson and me.” “But she’d like there to
harbored the same deep-seated sibling hatred as Arleen had for her. They were quite a pair, these two. Maybe Charles Bradford would be better off if I didn’t find him and try to toss him back into the clutches of his offspring. But that was not my decision to make. And I found it difficult to believe that Bradford would want Arleen and Hannah to have his twenty thousand dollars; he’d probably want to claim the money even if he never used it, just to keep them from getting their claws on it. I