Tree Farm Books


    Of these the weightiest catch was William King Harvey. Harvey remained a bona-fide Bureau product: a doleful, hard-bitten street investigator who preferred his Jack Daniels out of a flat pint bottle and so gained several pounds of fast-moving flab annually. A lifetime thyroid condition made his pale, canted eyes goggle — "stand out on stems, practically," one colleague maintains — as the weight went on; he acquired his office sobriquet, "The Pear." A gun and knife collector, Harvey liked to maintain an emergency revolver, tucked underneath the sweatband at the back of his trousers and enveloped by the cleavage of his formidable hindquarters. At work Harvey indulged a penchant for diddling with one of his many pistols at his desk while chewing the rag with visitors in his hoarse, whisky-raddled patois (spiked when anything struck Harvey wrong with bursts of a petrifying obscenity) and sometimes was known to level a .45 at a companion's forehead while good-humoredly clicking off the safety. Such mannerisms put off the more genteel OSS alumni around the OSO, who chuckled over Harvey's free-swinging personal habits. The big man detested publicity, and made it his business to keep whatever he was up to out of the authorization paper flow. [p. 173-174]

     In bristling midcareer, Bill Harvey had not toned down much rubbing shoulders with gentlemen. He still relished ready tail and unlimited booze (not in that order necessarily) and acknowledged the canons of civilized dress when the occasion called for it by toting his pearl-handled revolvers in matching holsters aflop against the sweat stains beneath his cavernous armpits. He'd dumped his Indiana-born wife, Libby, amidst a hail of flying drink glasses and sailing card tables. Harvey remained a blunt instrument. But given a hard, grubby job he had a way of jostling things along. [p. 351]

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