Finger Man by Raymond Chandler (1950)

Fancy a quick one?

Here’s the maestro on suspense – and its release.

The ball drifted along the groove, dipped past one of the bright metal diamonds, slid down the flank of the wheel and chattered along the tines beside the numbers. Movement went out of it suddenly with a dry click. It fell next to double-zero, in red twenty-seven. The wheel was motionless.

The croupier took up his rake and slowly pushed the two packets of bills across, added them to the stake, pushed the whole thing off the field of play.

Canales put his wallet back in his breast pocket, turned and walked slowly back to the door, went through it.

I took my cramped fingers of the top of the railing, and a lot of people broke for the bar.

A tantalising rhythm. You can see that ball on its slow whimsical journey. And that … and walked slowly back to the door, went through it releases us.

Love the breaking for the bar, too. Makes my elbows twitch.

Thanks for being here.

(Finger Man is the second of three stories in Pearls are a Nuisance.)

Buy Pearls are a Nuisance (free delivery, cardboard wrapping)

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Book Bore.

Guy Nicholls, writer and book bore.