Coleman Fuller shows up in the office of detective Percy Warren. His rich uncle Henry Fuller was bumped off and he doesn’t trust the police to get the killer. He admits he found Warren by going to the Yellow Pages and backing up through the private dicks. Not only does he not seem to appreciate the insult to Warren, but that was also a shot out of nowhere against Nero Wolfe and V.I. Warshawski. On the other hand, given that this was 1932, I guess we should just be thankful he didn’t find Charlie Chan in the Yellow Pages.
They meet up again at the office of Fuller’s lawyer Bond, Harley Bond. Bond says if he had known Fuller was in need of some private dicking, he would have recommended a bigger agency. Although, it sounds like Warren is getting dicked around pretty good as it is.
Bond says the fee for finding the killer has been set at $10,000  by Carl Fuller, Coleman’s uncle. Henry Fuller croaked and left $20M to his siblings, but excluded his bother John, and John’s son Coleman. That’s a pretty good motive right there.
To begin his investigation, Warren goes to see the Fuller’s valet Jobson. After a pleasant chat, the valet hurries out to an appointment which the author seems to imply means he’s going to a prostitute. Left alone, Warren asks the switchboard boy if he’d like to make a quick 10 bucks.
“I guess a 10 spot wouldn’t look bad to you, hah?”
He eyed me funny. “Well . . .”
“Don’t worry. Nothing like that, buddy.”
So what did the switchboard boy think Warren had in mind for $165 in 2017 dollars? This author has a one-track mind. The dough was to allow Warren to take over the switchboard. He takes a call from Jobson asking for Miss Kelly. Jobson tells her to have an unnamed man meet him in room 311. Warren traces the call to the Stopover Inn, hangout of the Lewis Gang.
Warren checks in to the Stopover and gets room 317. He tiptoes down the hall to listen at the door of 311. He hears two men talking briefly before the cops show up — well, one cop and the lawyer Bond. A passing truck prevents him from hearing much. The the cop, Bond and Jobson leave the hotel. Warren sneaks on the ledge over to 311 to find the other man, but Miss Kelly catches him. She spotted the other man and his description sounds like Spike Lewis of the Lewis Gang.
Warren goes back to Jobson’s building. He calls up to warn Jobson about the Lewis Gang, but the call is cut short by a gunshot. Warren goes upstairs and finds Jobson dead, but someone placed the phone back on the hook. Warren looks around the valet’s home. The first three rooms are bedrooms, then he goes to the bathroom, dining room and kitchen. Note to self: Look into lucrative field of valeting.
Blah blah, for reasons I’m not even sure of, the rest of the story bored me to death. At the end, after the lawyer Bond is naturally revealed as vile, opportunistic, immoral, but also a murderer, Warren and Coleman come together.
“And I suppose you know what a low-life like me wants to do when he’s come into a juicy bit of money.”
“Exactly,” he murmured. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a full pint flask, and after I took a good pull at it, he finished it off himself. “That,” he said, “is just about enough to last us until we reach the nearest speak.”
I looked him over again; and I liked his looks.
“Exactly,” I said.
I hope he kept the key to room 317; sounds like he’s going to need it.
-  Holy crap — that’s $165,000 in 2017 dollars!
-  Actually, it’s a terrible motive. Why kill the guy if there is a chance you might end up back in the will someday? Maybe he’ll need a kidney.
- First published in the March 1932 issue of Black Mask. Also that month: fore-seeing digital cameras will destroy his company in 75 years, Kodak founder George Eastman preemptively kills himself.
- Title Analysis: So bullets are confetti? Kind of dopey.