The Avenger 7 - Stockholders in Death

Also In This Series

By Kenneth Robeson

#1: J
USTICE
, I
NC
.
#2: T
HE
Y
ELLOW
H
OARD
#3: T
HE
S
KY
W
ALKER
#4: T
HE
D
EVIL

S
H
ORNS
#5: T
HE
F
ROSTED
D
EATH
#6: T
HE
B
LOOD
R
ING

WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY

WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY EDITION
F
IRST
P
RINTING
: D
ECEMBER
, 1972

C
OPYRIGHT
© 1940
BY
S
TREET
& S
MITH
P
UBLICATIONS
, I
NC
.
C
OPYRIGHT
R
ENEWED
1969
BY
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
, I
NC
.
A
LL
R
IGHTS
R
ESERVED

T
HIS
W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
E
DITION
IS
P
UBLISHED
BY
A
RRANGEMENT
W
ITH
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
. I
NC
.

C
OVER
I
LLUSTRATION
BY
P
ETER
C
ARAS

W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
IS A
D
IVISION
OF
W
ARNER
B
OOKS,
75 R
OCKERFELLER
P
LAZA
, N.Y. 10019.

A Warner Communications Company
ISBN: 0-446-64-985-6

Printed in the United States of America

CONTENTS

STOCKHOLDERS IN DEATH

CHAPTER I: Stockholders in Death

CHAPTER II: The Search

CHAPTER III: Nicky Luckow

CHAPTER IV: Wanted—For Murder

CHAPTER V: Suicide Heights

CHAPTER VI: The Warning!

CHAPTER VII: Beyond The Law

CHAPTER VIII: Cement Coffin!

CHAPTER IX: Human Tank

CHAPTER X: Hide-Out

CHAPTER XI: Flaming Death!

CHAPTER XII: Dead or Alive

CHAPTER XIII: Desperate Call

CHAPTER XIV: Three To Die!

CHAPTER XV: Life for a Life

CHAPTER XVI: My Brother’s Killer

CHAPTER XVII: Police Slaughtered

CHAPTER XVIII: Veiled Lady

CHAPTER XIX: Down to the Sea

STOCKHOLDERS
IN DEATH

CHAPTER I
Stockholders in Death

It was after one o’clock in the morning, but Joseph Crimm, semi-retired lawyer, was just walking home from his office on Lexington Avenue. It was the latest he had worked for a long time. Joseph Crimm, dapper and elderly and kindly-eyed, very seldom had anything important enough to work that late on.

He did now. Something very important. He was extremely thoughtful about it. Now and then he frowned a little.

It was dark here. Crimm had a beautiful house, remodeled, though the house was in a spotty neighborhood on the East Side. New York is like that—big, expensive apartments nest in the middle of slums; remodeled tenement buildings that house millionaires, right in the center of warehouse or loft districts.

Crimm’s place had a terrace overlooking the East River, and was as nice a home as you’d care to see, once you’d entered the front gate. But outside the wall, the street was shabby and as dark as the inside of a hobo’s hat.

Crimm didn’t usually notice the darkness and shabbiness. He did, tonight, because he was walking. He didn’t often walk from the office to his home. He hadn’t really intended to tonight.

His elder son, Tom, had promised to call for him at twelve thirty in his car. Tom hadn’t showed up, and when Crimm went outside, the night air was pleasant; so he had decided to walk, instead of flagging a taxi.

Now he was a little sorry. It was very dark. Also, he was aware of a chronic affliction that began to make itself noticeable in the form of extreme tiredness, as if he had walked ten miles instead of less than one.

He would have taken a cab, now, to go the last block or so to his home. But he was in a region where there were no cabs; so he plodded on—

To his doom!

A car came down the dark street. The car was dark, too, and melted in with the building shadows. Only its dim cowl lights were on. Crimm paid little attention to it, at first. Then he eyed it with sudden relief.

It was, he thought, Tom’s car. It was the same model and color as the sedan his son drove. Tom had been delayed, had found him gone from the office and was just catching up to him now.

Crimm’s relief faded into uneasiness.

He began to sense that this wasn’t his son’s car, after all. Something about the way the figure at the wheel wore his hat, sat in the driver’s seat, was different. It was someone else with the same kind of sedan.

The car whirled suddenly and came straight at the spot on the sidewalk where Crimm stood.

The elderly, retired lawyer thought at first that the driver merely meant to make a U-turn in the street and go back the way he had come. But the front wheel, instead of continuing cramped for a turn, straightened out, and the sedan continued to leap straight at him.

Crimm yelled and ran to the right.

The car jounced over the curb, screeched to a stop before crashing a building wall, and backed up. It tore at Crimm again.

Crimm began to run down the walk toward his own gate. After him, on the sidewalk instead of the street, came the sedan.

It was mad, nightmarish. It was the kind of thing you often dream might happen but know very well never actually will.

The car chased down the walk like a mad thing. It squeezed between hydrants and building walls, twisted out on the street and back up on the walk when some obstruction gave too narrow a lane for it to negotiate. But always it charged at Crimm.

After the first yell Crimm was silent. He needed all his breath. Needed it for running and ducking.

He side-stepped into a small doorway. The car plunged right at him. The door posts might or might not have held the bumper from nosing in and crushing him. He didn’t wait to find out. Instinctively he leaped out again and went back along the walk, away from the river.

The car came right after him.

The thing seemed like a live creature, insane with hate, motivated by just the one purpose of mangling Crimm’s spare figure. It was like a bull elephant charging at a victim, regardless of all obstacles, no matter where the victim should turn.

At no time did Crimm see the man at the wheel. He scarcely paid attention to the man. indeed. It was as if the car itself were the thing ramming at him, with no human will to guide it.

The crazy, horrible game could not go on long. For nearly three minutes Crimm doubled and wheeled and ducked, narrowly missed death a score of times by the flailing bumper.

Then he clutched at his chest, uttered a wheezing groan, and sank to the sidewalk.

Now the car could have rammed over him with no trouble at all. Now it had simply to go straight ahead. But, with an entire lack of sense, it did no such thing.

It stopped well away from the prone figure of the elderly man, backed into the street and went at a law-abiding, subdued pace back toward the center of Manhattan.

Crimm lay there. A rattling kind of gasping was coming from his bluish lips, but he was unconscious of that. He was unconscious of everything. And that was fortunate, for his kind of affliction carries pain so great that it is scarcely to be endured.

A woman came out of the building across the street, saw the body and ducked back in. Two men followed her out in a moment and carried Crimm into their apartment.

They took a wallet from his pocket, identified him, phoned the police and his home.

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