“Betrayed” by David Essex was published in 1948 by Curtis Warren Ltd. and sports a mediocre illustration by H. W. Perl.
David Essex wrote one novel a year later: Retribution (Curtis Warren Ltd.). Additionally, he crops up twice in 1948 with snippets in Stag Magazine (edited by Bevis Winter).
We are introduced to detective Al Rankin. He’s a scruffy fellow that has little room for nonsense. He gives orders and expects them to be followed. He is currently employed by a large business magnate, paid to keep his employer out of trouble. The trouble? A competitor who he fears will stop at nothing to derail his future business designs.
So, when Rankin is rudely barged in upon by his employer, one Mr. King, he’s hardly in the mood to be nice. King isn’t in any position to be polite either; there’s a dead beauty at his flat, and he claims to be innocent.
Taking King’s wheels out to the flat, they enter and are nonplussed to find…nothing! No body! Just a blood stain where a body should be. And the police are also now on the scene, expecting a body. They give King and Rankin a hard time, but without a body, they can’t detain either one. The pair depart and Rankin suggests a quieter location, perhaps another home that King might own. King acknowledges he has another. They discover the corpse in the back of the car.
Rankin now has his first look at the dame. She’s gorgeous. Or was. Thinking quickly on his feet, Rankin devises a plan to rid themselves of the body while also delivering the body into the hands of the police.
Hiring a crony, they trick the chief investigating officer to pursue the crony out into the middle of nowhere. Then he runs on foot into the woods. While the officers chase him, Rankin drives down to the abandoned police cruiser, dumps the stiffened corpse into their backseat, takes off down the road, picks up his crony, and they speed off.
Unloading his helper, he informs King that the body is unloaded. That stiff off their minds, Rankin settles down to trying to unravel the case. He discovers the identity of the corpse. He soon learns that King secretly has a dame holed up in a suite (King is married). He pays her a visit. Doesn’t like her one bit. Gives her the low-down. Turns out the recently-deceased is this floozie’s younger sister. He departs and waits around the block.
He waits a long time but is finally rewarded. The sister takes a cab, and he follows them. Rankin watches as she enters a building and notes the other two vehicles that are present. Not only is King’s rival present, but so is King’s own operations manager! Sneaking in through the cliché “open-window,” he listens in and learns most of the case.
Leaving the way he entered, he waits again in his car. The woman’s cab is long gone. The girl exits and walks away. He waits until she approaches, nabs and convinces her to get in. Rankin bounces all the evidence off her and she comes undone.
Rankin takes care of the creeps, the girl gets a free pass, and King ceases to play naughty with his innocent wife. Rankin concludes by taking his pay and decides to see a gal out of town.