The Scarlet Ruse: A Travis McGee Novel
John D. MacDonald
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From a beloved master of crime fiction, The Scarlet Ruse is one of many classic novels featuring Travis McGee, the hard-boiled detective who lives on a houseboat.
Travis McGee’s getting lazy. Drinking Boodles on the Busted Flush has become a full-time job. But when he hears that six figures’ worth of rare stamps have wandered off, McGee finds himself back in the salvage business. To deliver on this case, McGee will have to be suspicious of everyone he meets—because what he’s looking for is property of the mob.
“The Travis McGee novels are among the finest works of fiction ever penned by an American author.”—Jonathan Kellerman
Hirsh Fedderman has misplaced an extremely valuable commodity: the stamp collection of mobster Frank Sprenger. Assessed at around four hundred thousand dollars, these are no ordinary stamps, and Sprenger’s no ordinary collector: He’s liable to break some fingers if he doesn’t get what he’s owed.
Lucky for Hirsh, he’s got a friend in Travis McGee. Soon McGee is hot on the trail of the missing collection—not to mention hot for a voluptuous stamp expert by the name of Mary Alice. Only it’s not McGee’s heart that’s in danger. He soon realizes that he’s run afoul of a vicious syndicate, and neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night will keep them from collecting McGee’s head.
Features a new Introduction by Lee Child
books.” “Of course.” “My car is over there in that lot. Would you like to look at it?” She stopped and frowned at me. “Why should I want to look at your car?” “Maybe because it is older than you are.” “It is?” “It’s a pickup truck.” “Really?” “Do you want to look at it?” “Why not?” As we neared it, I pointed it out. “Yecht,” she said, “what a frightful shade of blue.” And then she said, “But it’s a home-made pickup truck!” And then she said, “My God, it’s a Rolls-Royce.” Then she braced
Think of it this way, gentlemen. If we all got exactly what we wanted all the time, wouldn’t life get very dull?” “This man gets what he wants,” Davis said. “Not this time.” “Suppose he wants to give you a choice, McGee,” Harris said. “Suppose he keeps the deal open, and when you get out of the hospital and you can move around again pretty good, he sends somebody to ask you again.” I stared at him and then at his partner. “Now come on! What’s your script anyway? Kick my spine loose and drive
you.” She gave me a very strong hug. “That’s our deal.” “That’s our deal, M.A.” “Time is it?” “Moving up onto noon.” “What! Good Lord!” “Something must have relaxed you, honey.” “Sure didn’t look like anything was going to at first. I was absolutely hopeless. I was just too tense and nervous and scared to be worth a damn. You are a very patient guy.” “In a self-serving kind of way.” There was a long silence and small motions finally, body language involved in question and answer, query
he would see me whenever I got here.” “Are you sure he said that?” “Why don’t we try him on it, little chum?” “I couldn’t interrupt him, really.” “The name is McGee.” I saw at once that she had been instructed. But she had not been prepared for somebody who looked as if he had come to fix the wiring. Her eyes went round. “Oh, of course! I remember now. Mr. McGee.” Her smile became very wide. Unreal, but wide. “That’s a dead tooth,” I said. “Just beyond the canine on the upper left. A pretty
“If I ever say ‘Like what?’ to you again, the way I said it that time, wash out my big mouth with yellow soap.” “I promise you that too.” “Brutal male chauvinist pig?” “Well, if you put up a fight, I’m not sure I can manage the soap part.” She grinned, assumed the stance, jabbed with a long left, and then hooked off the jab, a respectable whistler missing by a calculated inch. “My very best punch,” she said. “You keep impressing me in new ways, Mary Alice.” “Darling, what are you going to