David Dodge. Death and Taxes (1941) 277 pp.
San Francisco tax accountant James “Whit” Whitney is summoned home
from a vacation in Santa Cruz to help his partner, George MacLeod, recover
a hefty tax refund for a beautiful blonde client named Marian Wolff. When
he returns to his office, Whit finds MacLeod dead in the firm’s vault,
“with a small hole in the bridge of his nose.” In order to complete the
tax return and uncover the murderer, Whit becomes a reluctant detective
and nearly gets himself killed in the process. To prevent Whit’s murder,
if possible, the SFPD assigns him a bodyguard named Swede Larson. Whit
and Swede tangle with ex-bootleggers and Telegraph Hill gangsters in their
efforts to unravel the mystery, which climaxes with a shootout in the Mission
District and a dramatic car chase across the Bay Bridge. Along the way,
Whit resists the advances of Marian Wolff and begins a romance with Kitty
MacLeod, George’s widow.