A chapter-by-chapter summary of the hard-boiled detective fantasy novel Findo Gask - Goblin Detective.
There is also an index of characters from the novel.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27
Findo Gask is a Goblin, as well as a Private Detective and Bounty Hunter licenced in both the surface world of the humans and the Lower Realms, also known as the Underworld. Gask detains a runaway Goblin in a New York alley and returns him for a reward.
On his return to his office, Gask encounters a well-dressed Goblin called Merton Vale, senior partner in the accounting firm of Vale, Madderfy and Logan. After some negotiation, Vale engages Gask to find out who is blackmailing him. Vale shows Gask incriminating photographs of himself and Clunie, a waitress at the Starfield Club. According to the anonymous blackmailer, Vale is required to turn over the accounts for Monzie Hosh, the owner of the same club. Vale leaves, taking his magically-protected briefcase with him.
Before starting his investigation, Gask eats at a nearby diner where he is a regular. He is welcomed by David, the restaurant's owner.
Findo Gask starts his investigation by visiting the Starfield Club, a nightclub and casino so close to the surface that its interior is (sometimes) lit by starlight. Ordering a drink at the club, Gask encounters the volupuous waitress Clunie and asks her about her relationship with Merton Vale. Clunie tell Gask about her encounters with Vale, some of them in a quiet storeroom at the back of the club. Apparently, she had not seen Vale for several days, and expresses considerable surprise and shock when Gask tells her that Vale was being blackmailed.
Suspicious, Gask presents the second drink to a middle-aged drunk on his way out of the club. As the PI leaves, the drunk collapses noisily and is taken away by the bouncers, presumably having consumed the spiked booze intended for Gask. On leaving the club, Gask realises he is being followed.
Findo Gask leads his inexperienced tail, who is clad in an invisibility glamour, to the entrance to the transit tubes. There, he grabs the follower, who turns out to be Clathy Dupplin, the second waitress from the Starfield Club. Clathy tells Gask that she was forced to bring him a spiked drink by Monzie Hosh.
Somewhat mollified, Gask takes Clathy to a nearby bar and buys her a drink, then asks her about Hosh, Clunie and life at the club. After Clathy leaves, Gask makes his way back to his office, this time followed by a second person, one who knew how to use the invisibility magic properly. On arrival at his office, Gask discovers the dead body of Merton Vale, apparently poisoned by whiskey from Gask's own office bottle. Gask goes through the dead Goblin's pockets and retrieves the blackmail pictures, then calls the police.
Gask is interviewed at length by Inspector Harriet Luncardy. After checking his alibi at the Starfield Club, Gask is allowed to leave, with an admonishment to keep out of trouble and to attend the police hall to make a statement the following day. Gask returns to his apartment, where he drinks whiskey and sleeps badly. The following morning, Gask realises he does not know the whereabouts of the expensively-protected briefcase owned by Vale. He decides to try and track it down.
Findo Gask visits the grand residence of the late Merton Vale. The door is not answered when he knocks, but Gask manages to spy into a bedroom window, where he sees Alva Vale (Merton Vale's widow) entertaining Monzie Hosh the nightclub owner.
Gask once again makes his way to the Starfield Club, intending to interview the waitresses while Hosh is distracted. Once inside, he is intercepted by Clathy, who tells him that she took Clunie home earlier, and encourages him to leave the club immediately. Gask forces Clathy to give him both Clunie's and her own address.
On leaving the club, Gask is acosted by Drummond, Monzie Hosh's right-hand Goblin. Gask guesses that it was Drummond who was his second tail the previous night.
Gask visits Clunie's apartment. She greets him tearfully. Gask asks about Vale's briefcase, and Clunie admits that she has it in safe-keeping in her closet. On investigation, they discover that the briefcase is no longer in the apartment.
Clunie is distraught at the loss of Merton Vale's briefcase. She is consoled by Findo Gask, who offers to investigate Vale's death on her behalf. Clunie accepts his offer and gives him money in advance payment.
Gask attends the police precinct hall, where he makes a formal statement about Vale's death to Inspector Harriet Luncardy. Luncardy tells Gask that Alva Vale is the daughter of Old Man Madderfy, who was Vale's partner at the accountancy firm before his retirement. Madderfy's son (Creagan Madderfy) is now the junior partner at the same firm.
Luncardy tells Gask that she is declaring Vale's death a suicide. Gask disagrees, but their discussion is interrupted by a summons by Luncardy's boss, Captain Fowlis Wester. Wester tries unsuccessfully to intimidate Gask, to warn him off the case. Luncardy is clearly uneasy, but declines to tell Gask what her issue is.
Gask calls at Clathy's apartment, where he encounters Argaty Dupplin, Clathy's grandmother. Argaty shows Gask Vale's missing briefcase, telling him that Clathy took it from Clunie's flat on a whim, and reveals that Clathy, like Clunie, was once the mistress of Merton Vale.
While Findo Gask is in conversation with Argaty Dupplin, her granddaughter Clathy arrives home. Both Clathy and Argaty encourage Gask to take the briefcase away with him, and Clathy is persuaded to transfer some of the protective magical powers to Gask to allow him to transport (but not open) the case.
Gask swiftly travels to the surface and stashes the briefcase in what he thinks will be a safe hiding-place: a left-luggage locker in a Swiss railway station in the human world. He then returns to the Lower Realms.
In the Goblin world, Findo Gask travels to another portal to the surface which emerges in northern England. After a long journey by rail and on foot, Gask reaches the dwelling of Urquhart Garrick. Now a recluse, Garrick was a Professor at a university where Gask once studied, and is reputed to be one of the few Goblins who might be able to open the magically-protected briefcase without the proper keys.
After a shaky start, Professor Garrick welcomed Gask to his remote home-cum-laboratory. Gask persuades Garrick to try and open the briefcase, for a financial consideration. Gask leaves to collect the case, but is struck unconscious by an unseen assailant just as he leaves the Professor's residence.
Findo Gask regains consciousness in a damp field at dawn, miles from anywhere and surrounded by cows. He hitches a lift into the nearest settlement from an ancient human in an equally ancient Land Rover, a human who seems able to see through Gask's upper world disguise.
From the surface, Gask telephones Clunie, who informs him that Inspector Harriet Luncardy has been around asking questions. Gask is convinced that the telephone conversation with Clunie is bugged. With the last of his change from buying cigarettes, Gask calls a secret number which connects to the police in the Lower realms.
A few minutes later, a vehicle arrives to collect Gask. It contains Tarsapple, an older Goblin with whom Gask has had run-ins on previous occasions, and Glenshee, a junior. Instead of whisking him below, however, Tarsapple takes Gask to an abandoned warehouse for a meeting.
In the abandoned warehouse, Findo Gask is confronted by Police Captain Fowlis Wester. Wester dismisses Tarsapple and Glenshee, and then Gask is introduced to Old Man Madderfy, who is accompanied by several quiet Goblins in dark clothing that Gask categorises as "goons".
Madderfy in turn dismisses Wester, then Madderfy tells Gask about a police report describing a mysterious explosion at a Swiss railway station, and an eye-witness account of a human attempting to get into a certain left-luggage locker, using a key that had been taken from Gask's pockets. Gask staggers out, returns to the Lower Realms and back to his apartment.
Gask awakes, fully-clothed, in his own bed, with a very sore head. He gets cleaned up, then visits his favorite diner where David makes him a pick-me-up, then feeds him lunch. Feeling better, Gask thinks about what Madderfy had told him, and concludes that a further visit to see Alva Vale is needed.
Findo Gask once again arrives at the grand residence of the late Merton Vale, where he discovers that a wake is in progress. Mistaken for a guest, he is ushered inside by the Housekeeper, and presented with a glass of vintage champage by a waiter.
Mingling with the guests at the wake, Gask encounters Old Man Madderfy, and meets for the first time Madderfy's son Creagan Madderfy and his remaining business partner Busby Logan. The elder Madderfy also introduces Gask to Merton Vale's widow, Alva Vale.
The elder Madderfy escorts Gask from the party. Once outside, Madderfy rants at him, telling him to stay away from Alva. Gask hides outside the house until after the party, and spots Alva Vale emerging secretively. He follows her through the night to the Starfield Club, but declines to tail her inside. Gask returns home, exhausted.
Gask sleeps late, and is awakened by the tringing of the telephone. It is Old Man Madderfy, who tells him that that Gask is required at the reading of the late Merton Vale's will, and that he must bring the briefcase with him.
Before collecting the briefcase, Gask visits his client Clunie to tell her about the reading of the will and the conditions attached. Gask then travels to the surface to collect the briefcase from the bomb-damaged locker, and brings it with him to the Court of Probate.
The Probate Court is presided by Judge Kirkton and is assisted by two clerks. The elder Madderfy is present, as is the Widow Vale and her brother Creagan. Vale's business partner Busby Logan is also present, together with a number of other Goblins that Gask believes are Merton's blood relatives. The reading is about to begin when Clunie arrives, causing a commotion.
Merton Vale's will is presented by Millearme from the firm of Pane and Pickles, Attorneys-at-Law. Gask presents Vale's locked briefcase to Judge Kirkton, and Millearme opens it with a magical key held in trust by his company.
To everyone's surprise, the briefcase turns out to be empty. Kirkton continues with the reading of the will, which leaves his house and money to his widow Alva, and his business interests to his partners Creagan Madderfy and Busby Logan. Disappointed, Clunie rushes out and Gask follows her. He encourages her not to make a scene and to go home quietly.
Gask has a quiet word with the Judge and explains something of the case he is working on. They agree that there might have been important documents in the briefcase, including a more recent will, but they have now disappeared. Gask takes the now-deactivated and empty briefcase away with him.
Findo Gask realises he is being very skillfully followed, and he determines to break away from his tail. He deploys two pieces of magic form his dwindling stock: one to make him invisible and a second to project an image of himself in his own office. Gask hopes to pursuade his myserious follower that he remains in place, while actually he continues with his investigation.
Gask returns to the Starfield Club and stakes out the back entrances. He observes Drummond entering the club through a magically-concealed entrance where he is passionately welcomed by Clathy Dupplin. Shortly afterwards, Drummond reappears carrying what looks like a body in a bag.
Still invisible, Gask sneaks into the Club. He finds himself in a storeroom, perhaps the one where Clunie entertained Merton Vale. He further explores the Club, finding Monzie Hosh's office surprisingly unoccupied, and being carefully cleaned by Clathy.
While in the Starfield Club, Findo Gask encounters Clunie. He advises her to collect the briefcase from his office and take it home with her. Gask encounters the overweight drunk to whom he had slipped the spiked drink and, during the resulting commotion, is ejected from the Club by the bouncers.
Gask makes a return visit in the middle of the night to the surface residence of Urquhart Garrick using a lengthy and obscure route to avoid detection. Gask finds his way inside Garrick's residence unobserved, and overhears Garrick talking with Creagan Madderfy and a human called Rigg. It seems that Rigg was responsible for the explosion at the left-luggage locker, and Creagan is encouraged by Garrick to pay him off.
After Rigg leaves, Findo Gask pulls a gun and sticks up Urquhart Garrick and Creagan Madderfy. He retrieves a bundle of papers that Garrick's skills had removed from the briefcase, using the explosion to disguise the fact that the case had been tampered with. Gask ties up both Garrick and Madderfy, then returns to the Lower Realms, studying the papers during his travels.
On his return to his office, Gask encounters Busby Logan. Logan tells him that the partnership of Vale, Madderfy and Logan is not making much money, and is doing very little real business. Gask then makes a report to his client Clunie, and tells her that he needs to take the returned documents to Judge Kirkton.
Findo Gask leaves Clunie's apartment and returns to his own residence in a state of extreme exhaustion. After a couple of hours of recuperative sleep, Gask once again visits the street-corner diner he favors. WHile eating, David enquires after Gask's health, and wonders what has been making him so tired. Gask outlines his current problem, and David asks him a couple of perspicacious questions about the motives of the females in the case.
After breakfast, Gask once again visits the chambers of Judge Kirkton to hand over the documents he had recovered earlier. After a brief review of the contents of Merton Vale's briefcase, the Judge promises to reconvene the reading of the will.
Gask pays a visit to Alva Vale, who receives him in her boudoir. She attempts to seduce Gask in a attempt to get her hands on the papers from Merton's briefcase, then rejects Gask when he reveals that he has already delivered the documents to Kirkton.
On leaving the Widow Vale's residence, Findo Gask returns to his office, only to find it is being staked out by several anonymous black-garbed goons. Instead, he returns to his apartment where he finds a dead body on the floor, which turns out to be that of Monzie Hosh still wrapped in the bundle that Gask saw at the Starfield Club over the shoulder of Drummond.
Gask calls Inspector Luncardy who arrives with her police squad very quickly. Gask explains to Luncardy what he witnessed, while Hosh is pronounced dead and carried off to the morgue. Luncardy immediately arranges a raid on the Starfield Club and takes Gask along to locate the hidden rear entrance.
The raid on the Club fails to find either Drummond or Clathy Dupplin, and Findo Gask is unable to locate Clunie either. Gask returns home to sleep, but is wakened early by Luncardy who insists that he attend the police precinct urgently. Luncardy reviews the police reports for Gask's benefit, agreeing that Hosh's body in Gask's apartment was a clumsy attempt to frame Gask.
Later, Gask pays a visit to Clunie's apartment, which he discovers is empty after he forces his way in. Just as he leaves, Drummond appears and sticks up Gask with the aid of a knife at the kidneys.
Gask phones Inspector Luncardy, who agrees to meet him in his office. Gask then returns to his office, ignoring the goons who have spent a fruitless and sleepless night waiting for him. Gask finds a note which Drummond left for him earlier, confirming Clunie's kidnapping, then makes a show of sitting at his desk and opening junk mail.
Gask is accosted by two tired goons, who insist that Gask waits in his office for Old Man Madderfy. Madderfy arrives a few minutes later, and tries to pursuade Gask to hand over the documents from Merton Vale's briefcase. Once again, Gask reports that he has already handed them over to Judge Kirkton.
Gask also tells Madderfy about finding Monzie Hosh's dead body in his flat, which Madderfy finds disconcerting. Madderfy then starts to instruct Gask not to talk to the police just as Luncardy arrives in the doorway.
Findo Gask tells Luncardy that Clunie has been kidnapped, then suggests that he interview Argaty Dupplin, Clathy's grandmother. Argaty reports that Clathy was at home only very briefly, stating that she be away for a few days, and taking a bag and some sunglasses with her.
After leaving Argaty, Gask goes to the police precinct to talk to Luncardy. There, he announces that he believes he knows where Clathy and Drummond are holding Clunie.
Findo Gask explains that Clunie is being held in the one Goblin-friendly place on the surface, Urquhart Garrick's residence. Inspector Luncardy is convinced, and arranges a raid on Garrick's place, once again insisting that Gask accompany her. Luncardy makes arrangements for the raid then insists, despite Gask's protests, that Argaty is brought along as leverage on her granddaughter Clathy.
The Goblin party are transported on the surface by an ill-assorted convoy of cars, and Luncardy and Gask are themselves piloted by Tarsapple and Glenshee. The police surround Garrick's place but are spotted arriving. Drummond attempts to use Clunie as a hostage.
Shots are fired from the house at the police, who are forced to take cover in the hedgerows around Garrick's farmhouse. On hearing shots, Argaty attempts to intervene and is shot dead by Drummond.
Gask hears faint noises in the fields behind him, and investigates unsuccessfully. He will later discover that this was Garrick escaping via a secret passage. Meanwhile, Luncardy brings the siege to a close without further bloodshed, arresting Drummond and Clathy, and releasing Clunie from her imprisonment.
Gask takes the opportunity to look around Garrick's extensive residence, including the laboratories. He also identifies two hidden exits. Gask deduces that Garrick left in a hurry, taking almost none of his possessions with him, and suggests to Luncardy that Garrick may attempt to return in secret to recover his property. Luncardy agrees to leave a coupld of the Goblin police behind to arrest Garrick should he attempt to return.
Gask, Luncardy and the rest of the squad return to the Lower Realms. Gask returns home, while Luncardy interviews Clathy and Drummond. When Gask is summoned the following morning, Luncardy tells him that she thinks the prisoners are keeping secrets to protect someone.
Interrupted in conversation with Findo Gask, Luncardy is summonded to the office of her boss Captain Fowlis Wester. There, she is summarily instructed not to interview either Old Man Madderfy or his daughter Alva Vale.
Luncardy elects to ignore, or at least work around, the direct instruction from Wester, and she and Gask visit the spacious mansion that is the home of Old Man Madderfy. Luncardy remains totally silent, listening while Gask asks Madderfy certain questions. When Gask asks about the involvement of Madderfy's son Creagan, the Old Man loses his temper and throws Gask and Luncardy out of the house.
Gask and Luncardy then seek an audience with Judge Kirkton in his chambers. While in discussion, a junior police officer arrives and informs Luncardy that Garrick has returned to his former home, overcome the cops that Luncardy had stationed there and made off with all of his goods.
Findo Gask elects to make a report to his client Clunie, now returned to her own apartment. When he arrives, Clunie eventually opens the door wearing only a towel, having been showering while Gask stood outside. Gask asks further questions and Clunie confides that, during her imprisonment, she overheard Clathy and Drummond talking about somebody they believed would be helping them.
Just at that moment, Alva Vale bursts into the apartment, holding a small but deadly gun. She makes it clear that she intends to dispose of both Gask and Clunie, but is unaware of the glamour which disables firearms around Gask. Gask grabbles with Alva and disarms her, then instructs Clunie to call the police.
Luncardy arrives shortly and arrests Alva, as well as escorting Clunie and Gask to the police precinct. At the station, Luncardy engineers an encounter between Alva and Clathy, managing to give Alva the idea that Clathy had betrayed her, and thus incriminating herself.
Luncardy and Captain Fowlis Wester have a furious row, with Wester accusing Luncardy of insubordination, and Luncardy accusing Wester of corruption. Wester invokes an internal investigation, incorrectly expecting Luncardy to be scared off. Later, Findo Gask is interviewed by the internal investigators.
Clathy is declared insane and never stands trial; instead, she is confined to a secure mental institution. Creagan Madderfy is also mentally ill, although he languishes in a comfortable private sanatorium paid for my his family. Busby Logan takes over the firm of accountants and proceeds to build a successful business, making him a wealthy and popular Goblin.
Old Man Madderfy persuades Gask to use what influence he has to prevent his son Creagan from being charged with any offense. Gask agrees, although more from self-interest rather than a desire to do Madderfy a favour.
Alva Vale is eventually charged, despite police speculation that her rich and influential family will prevent this outcome. Luncardy and Findo Gask witness the end of an altercation between Alva and her father, ending with Maddderfy disowning his daughter.
Gask gives evidence at Alva's trial. He deduces how Merton Vale bought the Starfield Club from Monzie Hosh, intending to run it with Clunie at his side. He was persuaded to amend his will in favour of Clunie, although Alva was unaware of this. Alva blackmailed her own husband in an attempt to find out what was going on, then plotted with Hosh to poison Merton in Gask's office.
Merton Vale's true will is read in the chambers of Judge Kirkton, which makes Clunie the owner of the Starfield Club and a very rich Goblin. Gask summises how Alva plotted with Clathy and Drummond to dispose of Hosh and keep the true will hidden, so that the three of them can run the Club togther.
Clunie swiftly installs herself as the mistress of the Starfield Club. She graciously welcomes Findo Gask when he makes the mistake of paying a visit. Clunie also acquires the house previously occupied by Merton Vale and his wife Alva.
Findo Gask and Harriet Luncardy visit a bar and drink whisky together. Later, Gask declines the offer of spending the night with Luncardy, and instead returns home alone to drink more whisky in an attempt to forget.