And Kill Once More
|Publisher||Graphic Publishing Company, Inc.|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
|Followed by||The Dice Spelled Murder|
And Kill Once More, by American novelist Al Fray, was published in 1955 by Graphic Publishing Company, Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
Marty Bowman was an L.A. lifeguard who thought he might like to play detective. At a posh house party in the central California mountains he got his chance to play— for keeps.
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Kate Weston is worried about her friend Sandy Engle. Since her marriage to George Engle, the vivacious Sandy has practically become a recluse. Kate's suspicion that something is wrong leads her to hire what she thinks is a detective to pose as her boyfriend during a weekend house party at the Engle's estate high in the central California mountains. Instead of a detective, though—because of a manpower shortage at the Gregory Agency—Kate gets a stand-in: Marty Bowman, an L.A. lifeguard with vague ambitions of following in his brother's private-eye footsteps.
The guests at the party seem to have little in common until George Engle turns up dead at the bottom of his swimming pool with Marty Bowman's lucky silver dollar clenched in his fist. The murder investigation by slow-moving local sheriff Frank Toland finds the thread that connects most of the guests: they were being blackmailed by George. Marty becomes the prime suspect in the murder and to save his own neck has to stay one step ahead of Toland. As he subtly conducts an independent investigation under Toland's nose, Marty discovers that in addition to blackmailing his house party guests—and many others—George has conned his wife into believing she has tuberculosis.
Slipping past the guard of sheriff Toland's rookie assistant, Marty and Sandy pay an after-hours visit to a clinic in the valley, where Marty, with the help of an X-ray technician, proves to Sandy that her ill health is an illusion. After bar-hopping with a jubilant Sandy for the rest of the evening, Marty resists her drunken advances (and beds Kate instead). The next morning, however, Marty finds that Sandy too has been murdered. Unbeknownst to the sheriff, Sandy had retained possession of some of the evidence her husband had used to blackmail their guests, a fact that led George's murderer to kill once more.
The murderer, sensing that Marty is closing in on the truth, sets for him the same underwater death trap used on George. Fortunately, Marty's familiarity with swimming pool hydraulics enables him to anticipate the trap, foil it, and turn the tables on the killer. A struggle ensues, followed by the climactic denouement.