David Dodge. Shear the Black Sheep (1943) 284 pp.
San Francisco tax accountant Whit Whitney reluctantly accepts a job
offer from John J. Clayton, a wealthy wool-broker, to investigate Clayton’s
son Bob, who runs the Los Angeles office of the family business. Whit’s
assignment is to find out why Bob has been making unauthorized payments
with company funds and, if possible, why he abandoned his wife and young
child. Not only does the job involve more detective work than Whit is comfortable
with, it takes him to Los Angeles over the New Year’s holiday and away
from “the best-looking girl in San Francisco,” Kitty MacLeod. Whit quickly
learns the answers to both of Clayton’s problems: Bob is involved in a
high-stakes poker game with a bunch of card sharps and has taken up with
a “killer-diller” of a redhead named Gwen, the sister of one of the poker-players.
Whit is about to blow the lid on the whole setup when Bob drops over dead
during one of the games, poisoned by strychnine-laced aspirin tablets.
Also, the $25,000 in cash that Bob had brought with him has vanished. Kitty—who
doesn’t like being stood up—joins Whit in L.A. and they hit the Hollywood
nightclubs on New Year’s Eve, hobnob with movie stars, attend the Rose
Bowl game, and both wind up in jail before the killer is run down and the