James Benét. A Private Killing (1949) 240 pp.
While on vacation in San Francisco, New York newspaper reporter Ben
Spencer accompanies a fellow reporter to a press conference at the estate
(in the peninsula town of “Hillside”—a composite of Hillsborough and Woodside)
of renowned, but very private, scientist Arnold Barrett. During the war
Barrett had researched radiation for defense purposes and is now being
presented an award for “radical contributions to radar-antenna design.”
Afterwards, Ben gets Barrett to reluctantly agree to an interview. When
a young woman—one of Barrett’s houseguests—is found murdered in one of
the laboratory buildings, Barrett asks Ben to stick around to help him
deal with the police investigation and the inevitable media coverage. During
his stay, Ben uncovers a corporate espionage scheme, falls for Barrett’s
beautiful fiancée, discovers another body, and helps the Assistant
D.A. track down a murderer.
Baird & Greenwood 223