The Case of the Backward Mule
Erle Stanley Gardner
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Erle Stanley Gardner - The Case of the Backward Mule, a Terry Clane mystery.
Note: this edition is very slightly bowdlerized, but the character of the story remains as it was in 1946.
Killer or not -- she had it coming!
Terry Clane and Cynthia Renton went to the warehouse that night because of an urgent call from Edward Harold. They found a man lying on the floor, a bullet through his head. The police were already looking for Cynthia so Terry got her out before reporting the murder. And when Inspector Malloy arrived and questioned him, Terry insisted that he had come alone, by taxi.
“Sure you didn’t carry anything with you that belonged to a woman?"
One of Malloy's men handed him a black handbag. It was Cynthia's.
“Now Clane,” Inspector Malloy said, “the driving license in here is in the name of Cynthia Renton. And there's $2500 in bills. You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”
Cynthia Renton's fiancé Edward has temporarily escaped his fate in the gas chamber, a fate handed down for the murder of one Horace Farnsworth. Cynthia also happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Terry Clane, which is a very good thing. Terry is convinced that Edward is innocent of the crime, and with the help of several Chinese friends, evades the police while conducting his own investigation into the murder.
“The master has done it again! A plot that never lets down from beginning to end, human and fascinating characters, a story told with authentic punch. Terry Clane, a quiet fellow, just back from China where he has been working on a secret government mission, runs into murder when he walks into San Francisco. Whisked straight to the police, he puts to use the result of his experiences in the Orient in order to beat the lie detector. It's certainly excellent mystery fare.”—Montreal Gazette