Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1946. First Edition. The hand-boiled author's first book, and the first to feature Chicago private detective Paul Pine. "Paul Pine, solo sleuth, from a pauper's funeral to a five body carnage, is almost sunk without trace by the girl whose marriage he is to prevent. Pine's snooping lands him in wrong with the police, gets him quite a view of Chicago's underworld, and earns him more than one manhandling, until the answers are opened up by the girl - in not quite the way he thought" (Kirkus Review). The earliest inscription we have seen on any of the author's books. Hubin, p.134. Item #3205
First Printing. Octavo (19.75cm); red cloth, with titles stamped in gilt on spine and front cover; dustjacket; 245,pp. Inscribed by the author the day after publication on the front endpaper: "To Katherine Le Roy / in appreciation / Howard "John Evans" Browne / 5/24/46." Spine ends gently nudged, beginning oxidation to gilt titling, with a small, faint splash mark to upper edge of textblock; Very Good+. Dustjacket is unclipped (priced $2.00), shelfworn, with losses to spine ends and corner tips, several tears, with one mended on verso; Very Good only.