GIMLET GETS THE ANSWER
First Published in September 1952 - 192 pages
This book starts with a short author's note about Cyprus (plus a map). The story then starts with Major Charles of the Intelligence Office briefing Gimlet, Cub, Copper and Trapper about a gangster called Nicolou "Knifey" Kniftos. Knifey had been forced to leave America when he fell foul of other gangsters and settled on Cyprus. Here his behaviour has been suspicious and now he has been back to America and is returning to Cyprus in a private yacht called the 'Sandra', with six other well known gangsters. Major Charles wants to send Gimlet to Cyprus to find out what he's up to. Gimlet sets his men to watch various ports in Cyprus and the 'Sandra' arrives at Famagusta, watched by Cub. A party gets off the yacht and after collecting a car from a garage they drive off. Without a car, Cub is unable to follow. He sends a telegram to Gimlet and when he arrives, Cub swims out to the yacht to see what he can overhear. The yacht belongs to a wealthy American named Silas K. Rocheter, an art collector. Leaving Copper and Trapper to watch the yacht, Gimlet and Cub go hiking by Knifey's home in Cyprus called 'Casa Stefanita'. It is on a mountain in the middle of nowhere but they find nobody home. Making their way further up the mountain they come upon a primitive cottage and a thin wild dog. Here lived a man who was a charcoal burner, but his cottage is now deserted. 'Camel' cigarettes indicate the presence of an American and Gimlet finds a bullet lodged in the wall. Later, they see Knifey and the others come down the mountain and they look dirty as if they have been digging. The next day, Gimlet and Cub return and they meet Nestor, the son of the charcoal burner, looking for his father. Later, from a distance they see him murdered! Gimlet realises that the father is dead as well. The starving dog leads him to the grave. The death of Nestor is reported to the police and Gimlet finds out that his father used to also enjoy digging for old relics. Gimlet and Cub explore 'Casa Stefanita' and Cub gets a shock when he climbs onto the roof of a storage building and sees the face of a dead woman through the skylight. Later, going back up the mountain, Gimlet and Cub have a confrontation with Knifey and Rocheter. Towards the top of the mountain, Gimlet and Cub find some ruins and hear strange noises from a large hole in the ground. There are steps going into it and Gimlet descends, leaving Cub at the top. Time passes and when Gimlet does not return, Cub descends in order to look for him. Below ground are two passages, one blocked by a rock fall and the other leading out to a cave. This cave overlooks another cave, where the gangsters are working. Gimlet is nowhere to be found. Returning to the ruins at the top, Cub finds Copper has come along. The yacht, 'Sandra' has sailed round from Famagusta and moored near to 'Casa Stefanita' and Copper has brought word of this. Cub realises that Gimlet must be trapped behind the blocked tunnel below and with Copper's help goes back down to free him. This is the picture on the dust cover of the book. Gimlet is rescued and Copper is sent to get food supplies. When Gimlet and Cub use the cave to eavesdrop on the gangsters they hear that Copper has been seen. One of the gangsters, called Toni, is sent to kill Copper but he is attacked by the thin wild dog on the mountain and falls off a cliff. Later Knifey comes looking for Toni and he finds his gun. This makes Knifey highly suspicious. When the gangsters leave for the night, Gimlet and Cub get a chance to explore their cave and find out what the mystery is all about. They are astonished to find a large number of ancient statues consisting of men, women and children. Cub now realises that this is what he saw through the skylight, not a dead woman. Returning via the surface to Copper, fog descends and our heroes spend an uncomfortable night on the mountain. The next day, Gimlet goes to see the Governor of the island to tell him what is happening. Later, Trapper arrives and there is a shoot out with the baddies. Trapper has been sent up by Gimlet to warn them of a pending earthquake and to tell them to get off the mountain! Meanwhile, Copper is down in the underground passages and has to be warned to get out. Cub and Trapper run down the passages, closely followed by Knifey and his gang, when the earthquake strikes. Cub and Trapper get through and out, but the baddies are caught in the ensuing rock falls. Rocheter survives and tells the full story. Gimlet returns and things end satisfactorily. The recovered statues stored at 'Casa Stefanita' are sent to the Cyprus museum, the rest having been reburied by the earthquake for future discovery.
Gimlet Gets the Answer
Subtitle - none
Publication Details - originally published by Brockhampton Press Ltd.
Click on the Frontispiece to enlarge it
NB – This is the only one of the ten Gimlet books NEVER to be released in paperback. I have no idea why that is the case(!)