Howard Baer. O, Huge Angel (1949) 161 pp.
The tragic story of Mark, a Negro seaman, who has the misfortune of being the first person on the scene of a brutal murder in San Francisco. On the way to his ship after a night of drinking, Mark chances upon a young boy who has been stabbed to death along the Embarcadero. Knowing that if he is found with the body he will be accused of the murder, he struggles to decide whether to call the police or to run away. Before he can decide what to do, a patrolman arrives. After a wild chase along the waterfront, Mark eludes the police and gets aboard his ship, which is bound for Panama. Once on board, Mark realizes that a fellow seaman, named Dunstan, is the actual murderer. Again fearing that no one will believe him, Mark drinks heavily and behaves erratically and violently, causing the ship’s captain to arrest him and put him in the ship’s jail. When the ship arrives in Panama, he convinces Dunstan to help him escape. Once on his own in Panama City, his nightmare continues. His paranoia and fear of being accused of a murder he did not commit leads him to more drinking, violence, and eventually—and ironically—murder. Dunstan betrays him and the police gun him down as he makes a last desperate attempt to escape.
Setting: San Francisco; Panama
Baird & Greenwood 142