A Nathan Heller Novel

The Memoirs of Nathan Heller

True Detective

True Crime

The Million-Dollar Wound

Neon Mirage

Stolen Away

Carnal Hours

Blood and Thunder

Damned in Paradise

Flying Blind

Majic Man

Angel in Black

Chicago Confidential

Bye Bye Baby

Chicago Lightning (short stories)

Triple Play (novellas)


A Nathan Heller Novel


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Text copyright ©2011 Max Allan Collins

All rights reserved

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

Published by AmazonEncore

P.O. Box 400818

Las Vegas, NV 89140

ISBN: 978-1-61218-100-4

To Michael Cornelison—whose friendship isn’t just an act

Although the historical incidents in this novel are portrayed more or less accurately (as much as the passage of time, and contradictory source material, will allow), fact, speculation, and fiction are freely mixed here; historical personages exist side by side with composite characters and wholly fictional ones—all of whom act and speak at the author’s whim.

“What the public wants in the way of books on crime is detective stories that appeal to the passions. The public has so long been taught to hate and judge that it seems hopeless to try to teach them any sane and humane ideas of conduct and reasoning.”

—Clarence Darrow, The Story of My Life

“Tongue often hang man quicker than rope.”

—Charlie Chan


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21




Poised at the rail of the steamship Malolo like an Arrow shirt ad come to life, the handsome devil in black tie and white dinner jacket gazed contentedly at the endless shimmer of silver ocean under an art moderne slice of moon.

Occasionally a mist of spray would kiss the rugged planes of his face; occasionally he’d receive an even better kiss from the stunning young society deb snuggled at his arm. She had Harlow’s hair and a bathing beauty’s body, nicely evident under the deep blue skin of her evening gown; the cool trade winds on this warm night perked the buds of her breasts under the sheen of satin. Stars winking above were echoed by diamonds at the supple curve of her throat and on one slender wrist.

She was Isabel Bell, a name that rang twice, a niece of Alexander Graham Bell—meaning she had the kind of money that could travel long distance.

He might have been a wealthy young man from the East Coast; one of the four hundred, maybe—old family, old money. With those cruel good looks he might have belonged to some other element of Cafe Society—a stage or

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