Jackson Gregory. A Case for Mr. Paul Savoy (1933) 329 pp.
Amateur sleuth Paul Savoy passes through the Golden Gate on his yacht after a tour of the South Pacific and is reminded of the beauty and mystery of San Francisco. Before he can settle in for the evening, however, he is met by a policeman, Detective Gateway, with whom he has some unpleasant history but who now needs his help in unraveling a seemingly impossible mystery. Some eleven days before, the body of a nude man with two bullet holes in his side showed up in a taxicab at the Ferry Building. The taxi driver has no idea how or when it got there, no one has come forward to identify the body despite extensive publicity, and there are no clues. As Detective Gateway is leaving the house, Janice Landreth, the pretty young daughter of an old friend of Mr. Savoy, sneaks in. Janice is trying to make a name for herself as a newshound and wants in on the collaboration she has sniffed out between Savoy and Gateway. By dint of pure reasoning, Savoy begins to pick away at the puzzle as Gateway’s people and Janice do the legwork to find facts to intersect with his hypotheses. The trail leads to the penthouse above a Chinatown gambling house and to a mansion in the wilds of Burlingame, both of which are populated by several members of society bound together by business or family ties, but certainly not by affection. Ultimately, the power of Savoy’s reasoning is too great for the culprit as he figures out who the corpse is, where he was killed, and, finally, why. With those tasks checked off, the killer’s identity is revealed, but not before more people are put in danger and more mysteries arise that must be solved. Love and justice will out.
Setting: San Francisco