The Avenger 33 - The Blood Countess

BOOK: The Avenger 33 - The Blood Countess
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THE GREATEST CRIME FIGHTER
OF THE FORTIES RETURNS!

IN THE ROARING HEART OF THE CRUCIBLE, STEEL IS MADE. IN THE RAGING FLAME OF PERSONAL TRAGEDY, MEN ARE SOMETIMES FORGED INTO SOMETHING MORE THAN HUMAN.

IT WAS SO WITH DICK BENSON. HE HAD BEEN A MAN. AFTER THE DREAD LOSS INFLICTED ON HIM BY AN INHUMAN CRIME RING, HE BECAME A MACHINE OF VENGEANCE DEDICATED TO THE EXTERMINATION OF ALL OTHER CRIME RINGS.

HE TURNED INTO THE PERSON WE KNOW NOW: A FIGURE OF ICE AND STEEL, MORE PITILESS THAN BOTH; A MECHANISM OF WHIPCORD AND FLAME; A SYMBOL TO CROOKS AND KILLERS; A TERRIBLE, ALMOST IMPERSONAL FORCE, MASKING CHILL GENIUS AND SUPER NORMAL POWER BEHIND A FACE AS WHITE AND DEAD AS A MASK FROM THE GRAVE. ONLY HIS PALE EYES, LIKE ICE IN A POLAR DAWN, HINT AT THE DEADLINESS OF THE SCOURGE THE UNDERWORLD HEEDLESSLY INVOKED AGAINST ITSELF WHEN CRIME’S GREED TURNED MILLIONAIRE ADVENTURER RICHARD BENSON INTO—THE AVENGER.

THE BLOOD COUNTESS

IN SOUTH AMERICA TO QUESTION A YOUNG GIRL WHO HAS JUST ESCAPED THE GESTAPO’S CLUTCHES, THE AVENGER FINDS THE AREA TERROR-STRUCK BY A SERIES OF VAMPIRE-LIKE KILLINGS. PEOPLE SUGGEST THE GIRL HE SEEKS IS INVOLVED. IS SHE A NAZI VICTIM—OR A VAMPIRE?

“ELIZABETH BENTIN KNOWS SOMETHING IMPORTANT”

Colonel Heberden told the Avenger, “and she won’t talk to anyone but you. She was involved in underground work in Europe. The Gestapo had captured and tortured her, but the underground managed to rescue her. The girl seems fine. There are times though, when she apparently blacks out . . .”

“Something else you want to tell me?” the Avenger asked, noting the Colonel’s hesitancy.

“Don’t know it’s got anything to do with this business, but I might as well mention it. Since the girl arrived, there have been three murders in the vicinity under rather strange circumstances. According to my information each of the victims was found dead with a good deal of the blood from his body drained away . . . and with puncture marks in the neck and throat area. Sounds farfetched, but those are the classic signs for someone who’s been killed by a—”

“Vampire,” said the Avenger.

Also In This Series

By Kenneth Robeson

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#18: D
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WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY

WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY EDITION
F
IRST
P
RINTING
: F
EBRUARY
, 1975

C
OPYRIGHT
© 1975
BY
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
, I
NC
.
A
LL
R
IGHTS
R
ESERVED

T
HIS
W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
E
DITION
IS
P
UBLISHED
BY
A
RRANGEMENT WITH
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
. I
NC
.

C
OVER
I
LLUSTRATION
BY
G
EORGE
G
ROSS

W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
IS A
D
IVISION
OF
W
ARNER
B
OOKS
, I
NC
.
75 R
OCKERFELLER
P
LAZA
, N.Y. 10019.

A Warner Communications Company
ISBN: 0-446-75783-7

Printed in the United States of America

THE
BLOOD
COUNTESS

CHAPTER I
Warm Welcome

The waiter set the tray down on the coffee table, produced an identification card from under his crisp white jacket, and said, “Permit me to intro—”

That was as far as he got when the bullets took him in the chest.

He went flapping backwards across the hotel room, as though he were trying to take flight. But he went nowhere. He slammed into the pastel wall and slid down it to sit on the floor.

Blood pumped out of him, scrawling scarlet tracks down the front of his jacket. The plastic-covered card which identified him as an agent of the United States Government fell from between his fingers.

All of this took only seconds. And before the man hit the wall the Avenger had dived off the sofa to the rug. His unique .22 pistol was in his hand.

He sent a shot toward the gunman out on the balcony.

The shot was meant to knock the big automatic from the fat man’s hand. But it also scared him. He flinched and jumped back, his Panama hat flying from his head.

Jumping back was something you couldn’t do on a narrow balcony like that, especially if you weighed two hundred fifty pounds.

The rail made a warning shriek before it gave way.

“Deus!”
The fat gunman threw away his gun and grabbed at a potted palm.

He got hold of the trunk. The two of them went falling down to the dark alley five stories below.

Richard Benson knew the Government agent was dead. He ran, cautiously, to the open window.

There was no one out there.

He was about to step out and look down when he saw something swinging in the warm breeze. The tail end of a rope.

So the gunman had climbed down from above. He just might have friends up there at the other end of the rope.

The Avenger sprinted to the door and into the corridor.

He had taken three steps when a voice said,
“Momentito, senhor!”

Two big men, dark, mustached, wearing the tan-and-green uniform of the capital city police. Each held an army .38.

“There’s been a shooting,” explained Benson. “Some of the men involved may still be—”

“We know there has been a shooting,
Senhor,”
said the bigger of the two, a captain apparently. “You will please put away your gun and go back into your room,
se faz favor.”

Time had been lost. There was no use arguing. Benson dropped the .22 into his coat pocket. As he stepped into his room he happened to glance down at the captain’s shoes.

“Muito mal,”
observed the other policeman when he saw the dead man. “You shot him many times,
senhor.”

“He was shot with a bigger gun than a .22,” said the Avenger.

“You are an American,
senhor?”
asked the captain, indicating with a gesture of his gun hand that he wanted Benson to sit on the sofa.

“Yes, I am.”

“And what brings you to the capital of Panazuela?”

“Business.”

“Ah,
sim.”
The captain nodded. “Since the war began, a neutral country such as ours has seen some very strange business carried on.”

Twisting on the sofa and pointing at the open window, Benson said, “The man who shot him is down in the alley out there, captain.”

The big policeman laughed. “Waiting for us to come down and manacle him, eh?”

“I don’t imagine he’ll do much running after falling five stories.”

“Deus!”
said the other uniformed man. He’d been stooped beside the dead man, picking up his ID card.

The captain said to him, “Go look.”

With some reluctance the other man went to the window of Benson’s hotel room. “There is no one down there,” he announced after shining his powerful flashlight down into the darkness below.

BOOK: The Avenger 33 - The Blood Countess
9.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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