Monday, May 11, 2009

Blogging the Black Lizard of Anthology of Crime Fiction: Take Care of Yourself

"Take Care of Yourself" by William Campbell Gault is the first story in the Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction to feature a series character. Gault's PI Joe Puma has been hired to find the wayward daughter of a rich southern California businessman. Puma does that quickly enough, but he inadvertently introduces the daughter to a con man. The wayward daughter, of course, takes up with the con man, and the father hires Joe again to keep an eye on her. Joe follows the daughter to the con man's place. There are screams, and Puma breaks in and (surprise, surprise) gets hit on the head and knocked out. When he comes to, the daughter is gone, and the con man insists nothing is wrong. Something is, of course, wrong, and Puma has to find out what it is. \

Gault's story is, for all it's boilerplate PI tropes, pretty subtle. In fact, I didn't realize the full implications of the final line of the story until the morning after I read it. I was in the middle of my workout, and I suddenly stopped cold, and slapped myself in the forehead for not seeing it sooner.

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