THE MURDERED G-MAN FILE [The Federal Agent Mysteries] by Clarence Budington Kelland

“Clarence Budington Kelland is master of the slick, swift, entertaining yarn.” —The New York Times

“Bright and breezy mystery and romance.” —Kirkus Reviews

FBI agent Hawser Butts had a funny name and a sense of humor. But he was dead serious on a case—and all the more so now that his best friend and fellow agent had been murdered. Hawser only had one clue, but it led him straight to the largest theft of bonds in U.S. history and something called the Black Stock exchange, where forged bonds were sold and traded. Along the way he encountered bullets, bodies, mayhem, offbeat romance, and as strange a set of suspects as any G-Man had ever met:

  • Absalom Stubblecheek: now disabled and retired, he had once been the infamous “pirate of Wall Street”—but had he really laid down his cutlass for good?
  • Pea-Eye Hoskins: a sophisticated conman and quick on the trigger...too quick for his own good.
  • Lana Gibson: she looked like an innocent 16-year-old, but she was neither—and her strings of cusses could scorch the hide off a Marine.
  • Tubby Alton, Hawser's college roommate: was he a dupe, a dastard, or just a hanger-on?
  • Jackson Robards: this high-society millionaire had it all—but it was draining away with each dose of heroin he injected.
  • Tessie Minchkin: a ditzy dowager who tittered at young men's attentions—but finally received more attention than she wanted.
  • Mike Zoltowski: a Polish immigrant—Hawser called him a “true citizen” and told his boss, “sometimes these foreign-born boys like what they find here and get the idea better” than your average citizen by birth.
  • Olga Zoltowski: a hotel maid who was better informed than the FBI—and, like her husband, more patriotic than most people Howser met.
  • And finally...
  • Nadine Stubblecheek: her angular features, metallic voice, lighting wits and seeming indifference attracted the FBI agent as no woman ever had...but was she on the side of the angels—or leading him like a lamb to the slaughter?

Following a tangled trail of trouble and danger, Hawser Butts slowly sorted the innocent from the guilty, worked his way close to the killers...and, soon enough, found himself a marked man.

“A writer of distinction.” —The Detroit News

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About the Author

Clarence Budington Kelland was author of nearly 100 novels of mystery and romantic suspense, had enough careers for several men: attorney, reporter, manufacturer of clothespins, director of a major newspaper group, and more. Kelland became best known as a fiction writer, penning some 100 novels, and selling them as serials to the biggest and highest paying magazines of the time—like The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Colliers, and Cosmopolitan. Many were immortalized on film, of which the romantic suspense comedy and Oscar-winner, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, is undoubtedly the most famous. Kelland appeared alongside Agatha Christie, Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner in the same magazines, but was the most popular of the four. The New York Times described Kelland’s novels as “lively stories, designed to prick the jaded palate, that keep readers pleasantly entertained” and noted that “Kelland demonstrates the emotions of his lovers with a psychological penetration.” Kirkus Reviews called his novels “Bright and breezy, with plus appeal for murder-mystery addicts.” His magazine publishers kept besieging him for more novels because every time they serialized one of them (typically in 6-8 installments), circulation shot upward. Kelland obliged, and produced far more each year than his publisher (Harper and Row) could keep up with, leaving more than three dozen unpublished in book form when he died. His inimitable characters, trademark dialogue and deftly plotted stories, according to Harper, “made him an American tradition and won him more loyal, devoted readers than almost any other living author.” Kelland, as ever self-depreciating, simply described himself as “the best second-rate writer in the world.” His legions of fans, old and new, would likely disagree. There was nothing second-rate about his work.