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Synopsis: "Is it possible she won't want to see you?"
Darts came through the eyes. "Why would she not?" he faltered. I think I heard his voice break. "Of course...it's...possible." He put a spin on "possible," like anything was possible but he would just as soon not think it could be in this case. When he regained his composure, he asked, "So what would you charge?"
Here we were at the moment of truth. I had rehearsed my response to this inevitable question in front of the bathroom mirror in our tract house. I had honed it to as near believable perfection as I was capable of bringing off. But now my tongue seemed to stick to my lower teeth. Michael Hadaad didn't let his gaze waver. Finally I shook my head, once. "Phew," I said with as much bravado as my thumping heart would allow. "Gonna be expensive."
"How expensive?" he asked, cocking an eye of suspicion.
"Not so simple," I said. "I bring her here and she's happy to come, I'd settle for two hundred."
"Two hundred dollars?" He thought he had gotten lucky.
"Two hundred thousand," I corrected him.
"Two..." he choked. "That's ridiculous!"
This is where my art came in. I nodded, the soul of understanding, and stood to leave. I nodded again, in acknowledgment of his hospitality, and said, "I quite understand. My fees are a lot higher than the run of the mill. There are many available for a lot less."
He just stared at me, as though I were the first person to ever walk out on him. For my part, I was not as bummed at the prospect of losing the case or the fee (it was a lark anyway) as I was of losing the opportunity to see his palm collection.
I turned to leave. I had not taken three steps when I heard the mighty Michael Hadaad say, "No, wait."
I smiled to myself before I turned. Now I cocked my eye as he had done so expertly.
He answered: "You had the guts to get up. Most people can't see past their fee. Sit down."
"Is there room for negotiation?"
"I don't nickel and dime," I said. "I don't submit chits for meals and gas. But I'm afraid I've only given you the low side."
Up went the eyelids.
I nodded. God, I thought, is he buying this? But how could he? "If she doesn't want to come, it will be a half-million."
He sank back in his chair. I stood again, but faced him. "I quite understand your reluctance, Mr. Hadaad. I am used to working for the extremely wealthy, exclusively."
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.: Malvin Stark, on a whim, has told Michael Hadaad's gardener that he is a private investigator, and can find Hadaad's daughter. A meeting is set up, and Malvin (alias Gil Yates) arrives at a mansion in Santa Barbara...
"Sit down," he said at last, and waved me toward the wooden plank bench that faced his desk. He took his seat behind the battlefield.
"Would you like something to drink?"
"Oh, no, thanks," I said, and checked his face to see if I had pleased him. I couldn't see a crack in his inscrutable facade.
What is it about the super-rich that makes them so different? And yet much the same?
Strip them all and put them in a room full of just folks and don't let them say anything and you might have a hard time.
But with Michael Hadaad you'd pick him right out. He had arrogance in his eyes, unless he was trying to snow you. Then the eyes turned to a twinkle of charm. I was getting the twinkle.
"Now then," he said, and I wondered if he meant now or then - or perhaps both. Probably neither. "My gardener informs me you are a private detective."
"Very private, I'm told."
"I am discreet in the extreme," I countered.
Michael Hadaad prided himself on his stone face. Inscrutable. But I saw a twitch of disdain. "How, sir, am I to verify you are a licensed detective without being able to check references?"
Title: The Missing Link: A Gil Yates Private ...
Publisher: Allen a Knoll Pubs
Publication Date: 1995
Book Condition: Good
Book Description Allen A. Knoll Pubs, 1995. Book Condition: Good. 1st. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP10390317
Book Description Allen A. Knoll Pubs. Hardcover. Book Condition: Fair. Bookseller Inventory # G0962729736I5N00
Book Description Knoll Publishers, Allen A. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Book shows minor use. Cover and Binding have minimal wear and the pages have only minimal creases. Bookseller Inventory # G0962729736I3N00
Book Description Allen A. Knoll Pubs. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. 0962729736 Used; Book in good condition. May have markings, inscription and signs of wear. Ships fast with tracking! Ex Library. Bookseller Inventory # 0962729736
Book Description Allen a Knoll Pubs, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0962729736
Book Description Book Condition: Good. Book Condition: Good. Bookseller Inventory # 97809627297374.0
Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. GOOD Condition -- Book has visible wear with highlightings and writings inside -- Overall in GOOD & readable condition -- Book ONLY -- Does NOT INCLUDE supplementary materials or accessories such as CD, DVD, access code etc. -- Great DEAL !! Fast Shipping -- Friendly Customer Service -- Buy with Confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # RP0962729736GO
Book Description Allen a Knoll Pubs, Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A., 1995. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. A First edition, First printing. Book is in Near Fine condition. Boards are clean, not bumped. Page edges are clean. Interior is clean and legible. Not remaindered. Dust Jacket is in Near Fine condition. Not chipped or crinkled. Not price clipped. Dust Jacket is covered by Mylar Brodart. All-Ways well boxed, All-Ways fast service. Thanks. Bookseller Inventory # 017996
Book Description Allen a Knoll Pubs, Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A., 1995. Hard Cover. Book Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. First Edition. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 008364
Book Description Santa Barbara, CA: Allen A Knoll Pubs, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First edition, FIRST PRINTING, hardback, unread in MINT (Very-Fine/Very-Fine) condition (no marks/flaws, not book-club ed., not ex-lib, not price-clipped, etc; dj comes in a protective mylar cover). This copy was SIGNED by the author on the title page (simply signed, not inscribed to anyone). Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 5248