HALLAM. Lucas Hallam, an old coot of a cowboy, er, ex-cowboy, if there is such a thing, big and tough as nails, turned private eye, first launched onto the world in 1984 by L. J. Washburn. I'm glad I haven't read any of the other Hallam stories and novels; I like to start at the beginning of a character's story, so I don't get lost in the later ones that come along. This one appears in the book Hallam Collection,1920's Lucas Hallam Mystery stories, along with The Blue Burro, Ladysmith, and Hollywood Flesh of 2011.
Lucas Hallam, movie bit-player and private eye, is hired by Anthony Rose to find his girlfriend, Carmen Delgado and help him get rid of a curse put on by Carmen's mother. Right off, he has to beat up Rose's driver before he even knows why they want him to work for them. This Anthony Rose owns a gambling ship that's moored just outside the County limits off the shores of Los Angeles. It turns out there is another gambler, Freddy Stone, who owns another gambling ship and is involved in the disappearance of Carmen, perhaps. All Hallam has to do is find Carmen, and on the way he runs into murder, mayhem, and a pretty actress, as he visits both ships, a couple of apartment houses and the movie studio where he is working on a film. He must plug some of the henchmen of both gamblers and fight off others trying to protect their bosses. He conks a half-dozen or so on the head, laying them out cold and getting them out of the way as he goes about his business before wrapping up the case.
This story provided entertainment and a few laughs as I read it, and I would say that L. J. Washburn did a wonderful job in creating Hallam and a terrific job of writing to bring this character to life, A hearty well done.