This series goes out to those who love their PI stories hard boiled.
Nick Bancroft Mystery Series by Bob Liter is a Romantic Mystery/Suspense Series whose latest story released in March.
(This sends a reader to where all the Buy Links Are)
I’m an ex-newspaper reporter who inherited a run-down, one-man detective agency. My name is Nick Bancroft. I used to do investigation work occasionally for a friend Jimmy Jackson, who left me the business and stuck me with an office on the top floor of an old building in the wrong end of town.
I would have refused the inheritance, but I was sick of working where news had been converted to entertainment. And, besides, Jimmy had paid six months’ rent in advance for the office with a small apartment attached. Since I inherited the business I have helped solve a murder and got some press as a result.
In a small town like Centrel City, you can find bribery, graft, kickbacks, political influence peddling, criminal cover-ups, and sometimes murder. Now when I get involved in a case, there usually is a story I can sell to the upstate Chicago Times. I didn’t expect to make a living as a private investigator and freelance reporter, but I was wrong … sort of. It beats making money for someone else and it leaves time for my almost favorite sport of bowling and my passion for the Chicago Cubs.
It’s all in a day’s work; I can be tough enough when I have to be. On the other hand, I can be soft for the ladies, especially for an on-again off-again lover, Maggie Atley. Nothing is ever as it seems and I don’t quit until I find the answers. My name is Nick Bancroft.
Murder by the Book
Nick Bancroft inherits a rundown detective agency and embarks on a new career as a hard-boiled detective. When date rape drugs show up in Centrel City, so does reporter Nick Bancroft. The drugs are discovered at two different murders with sex etiquette books left at the scenes. Nick is hired by the first victim’s father, Ramsey Sinclair, to find the killer. A Chicago detective, Miss Faustine, is also hired by Mr. Sinclair to work “closely” with Bancroft. His focus is interrupted when he begins a love affair with receptionist, Maggie Atley, from a neighboring office.
Bancroft is banking on solving the murders and selling the story to the Chicago Times. As the case unfolds there is enough danger, drama, and deception to fill a book. Nick finds few things are as they seem and in his enthusiasm he becomes the target of a shooter and also the target of charming Maggie Atley’s affections.
August is Murder
A sexy nudist hires Nick Bancroft to defend her from threats on her life; Nick volunteers to provide 24-hour protection. Now, he is the target and August becomes even hotter when someone tries to burn him alive. Nick is not one to turn tail and run, especially now with two murders and Lady Godiva to protect. Nick’s true love, second only to the Cubs and bowling, Maggie Atley, is more than somewhat perturbed by the arrangement with his beautiful client.
After weeks of investigation there are still unanswered questions. Who are the bad guys? What does a mysterious club have to do with the murders? Can Nick survive another losing season by his beloved Chicago Cubs? Is this the last inning for Nick and Maggie?
After an intimate breakfast together, while reading the paper to Maggie, Nick is baffled by a headline: Female Body Found Covered with Stings: The Sheriff Calls the Death an Accident. Free-lance reporter and private detective, Nick Bancroft, doesn’t believe it and is drawn to the case like a bee to honey. He learns the victim lived in a home for young unwed mothers who work as waitresses and hookers at a nightclub.
Murder suspects include an alcoholic handy man, the man and wife who operate the home, a nightclub operator and his henchman, and a sheriff’s deputy. Everyone is trying to stop Nick’s investigation, including federal agents.
Even when he and his earthy lover Maggie survive being dumped in a deep lake with weights tied to their ankles, Bancroft is unwavering in his pursuit of the truth. Will Maggie and Nick’s romance sink or swim before the case is solved?
Point of Murder
Nick Bancroft, a former investigative reporter, enjoys a mundane existence in Centrel City operating a one-man detective agency. He supplements his pauper’s wages selling news stories to the Chicago Times. In a small apartment, Nick and his roommate Maggie, share frivolous romantic lovemaking and the responsibility of feeding a stray cat that adopted them. On the surface it seems picture-perfect.
The bed of roses ends abruptly when Nick’s destitute young friend, Bobby Scalf, is found murdered with a blunt six inch spike in his head. Nick becomes a suspect when the second murder victim is discovered in the abandoned building where the boy lived.
While Nick tries to find out who killed the boy, he uncovers a web of corruption involving the town council, the school board, the police chief and the local newspaper publisher. Nick survives several attempts on his life, and that of his stormy lover, before nailing the killer and exposing the town’s secrets. Solving the town’s problems may not be enough to solve the problems festering between Maggie and Nick. Is it really over?
And the Band Played On
Freelance reporter and sometime private detective, Nick Bancroft, is tough enough when he has to be. On the other hand, he can be soft for the ladies. That’s how he ends up at an outdoor band concert, with Maggie, a librarian, divorcee, and his very talented lover. Nick is front row center to witness the murder of a well-connected private secretary of an important political figure.
It doesn’t earn him any points with the cops that he is on the scene before them, and it doesn’t earn him any points with certain influential politicians that he won’t get off the case. Not only is Nick drawn into the dirty details of the crime, someone is trying to kill him. During the investigation, Maggie and Nick come face to face with the events surrounding 9-11. Will the final case break their spirits and crumble their love, or will they emerge stronger and committed to life together?
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From: “And The Band Played On”
A whip-crack sound bit into the air. A scream followed. The director’s baton remained frozen in space. An instant of silence was shattered by, “Somebody help. She’s bleeding. I think she’s been shot.”
The screamer stood in the third row to our left on the far side of the amphitheater. I dodged benches and people and raced to the scene. I put my hands on the screamer’s shoulders and assured her it would be all right to rest her lungs. She collapsed and edged away from the body of a young woman sprawled on the bench. Blood dripped from the young woman’s forehead.
I pressed a finger into her neck. No pulse. She was dead.
“Who is she? Is she really dead? Did anyone call the police?”
I stood on the bench beside the body, ignored the questions, and announced in my best imitation of authority, “Stay back. Don’t disturb the scene.”
Big Ed, breathing deeply, the cigar clamped at the edge of his mouth, said, “Who put you in charge, Bancroft?”
“Nobody’s in charge until the police get here. I’m just trying to preserve the integrity of the scene.”
A police siren grew louder and groaned to silence while the patrol car skidded to a stop on the edge of the parking lot. Two cops trotted down into the crowd and muscled their way to the death scene. One of them, Thomas something, a young guy with a square jaw, a big nose and brown eyes, said, “What’s going on Mister Bancroft? The caller said someone was shot. We were just a block away.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Robert T “Bob” Liter (1923-2008) was born in Hartley, IA to Charles and Hazel Liter and grew up in Des Moines, IA. His sisters June and JoAnn, joined the family before the decade was over. Bob was a U.S. Navy veteran, and was honorably discharged after two tours of duty, one tour in World War II and the other tour in the Korean War. A Graduate from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, he earned his degree in journalism, and married Lillian in 1950.
What Happened Next
I came along 9 months later; my name is Martie. I was soon followed by my sister Jeannie and two brothers, Jeff and Ron.
Later in Dad’s journalism career he worked as a copy editor for the Peoria Journal Star, Peoria, IL until his retirement. Through the years he was also a writer. Early in his sideline career he was published in various True Confession magazines. When Dad retired to take care of Mom he continued to pursue his passion for writing. Much of his work has been available since 2002 in EBook format.
First Five Novels Available On Amazon NOW
It is my honor to introduce new readers to the Bancroft Mysteries where the character Nick Bancroft has an uncanny resemblance to my Dad, Bob Liter with his wit and bodacious gutsy approach to life. Then there is Nick’s on-again off-again lady, Maggie Atley, who is just like Mom, Lillian Liter, in the way she deals with a self-proclaimed “male chauvinist piggy.”
While Nick solves mysteries in the fictitious, but very real, community of Central City, IL he still finds time for his love-hate relationship with bowling, and his avid undying passion for the Chicago Cubs and Bears.
From the author Bob Liter
Here is a brief history and a few revealing stories of the author, Robert T “Bob” Liter, (1923-2008). Dad was born in Iowa to Charles and Hazel Liter. The only boy in a family with two sisters, Bob was enterprising and caddied at the Des Moines neighborhood golf course where a golf-pro took Dad under his wing and taught him the game of golf. Although Bob was a lefty, left-handed golf clubs were hard to come by, so the golf-pro taught him how to play with a right-handed set. Bob learned and mastered many sports left-handed, although all his life he played golf right-handed and never forgot the generosity of his first golf instructor.
Shortly after high school, Bob enlisted in the military. As a Navy seaman recruit in World War II, one of his early assignments was a water boiler operator on a Landing Ship – Tank (LST) to support military amphibious operations. Along with other irreverent sailors who manned these curious ships, they sarcastically claimed the acronym stood for “Large Slow Target.” Hope, courage, and persistence went a long way during his years in the Navy.
One story I remember hearing; Dad was on shore leave in North Africa with fellow crew members all in sailor dress whites for a night on the town. Returning to the ship, slightly inebriated, the group wandered through an oil field. Their shoes were covered in black muck. In the morning it was apparent that Bob would be in trouble. His small shoe size, a men’s 5, and the small footprints on the deck leading to his bunk easily convicted Seaman Recruit Liter. Bob was the only one to serve time in The Brig for the indiscretion.
Between his tours of duty, World War II and the Korean War, Bob attended and graduated from Drake University, School of Journalism. Dad even found time to get married to Mom.
Lillian Hyde, soon to be Lillian Liter, had graduated from high school and was working at S.S. Kresge’s new FIVE and DIME in Des Moines. She would regularly be impressed by a cocky young fella named Bob who would come by the store and visit while she worked. Lillian could always tell when Bob was near, because from three aisles away she could hear the taps on his shoes and the tunes he would whistle as he walked toward her.
Bob Liter and Lillian Hyde were married on March 4, 1950 and honeymooned in a quonset hut in Northern Iowa. It must have been some honeymoon! Not long after the wedding, Mom was sitting on a park bench in the quad of Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa close to their apartment and telling Dad I was on the way. I was born in November of 1950 around Thanksgiving. My Dad named me Martie Lynn. Mom and I didn’t find out until years later he had named me after a waitress he had a crush on while he was in the service.
Dad’s hope, courage, and persistence proved to be stepping stones into the newspaper world. By this time our happy little group now included my sister and brother. The family moved to Lincoln, IL and Bob went to work at the Lincoln Courier. Dad had the opportunity to pass along the generosity of his first golf instructor to a young fellow, John Swingle.
Here is the story in John’s own words: “A week after I received my high school diploma I received a call from my hometown newspaper. I think it was the next day I had an interview with Bob Liter, city editor, about a summer proofreading job. Little did I know that Bob Liter was about to become my boss, my mentor, a terrific friend, confidant, and an exceptional influence on the rest of my life! He welcomed me to meet his family, a relationship which continues to this day. Bob Liter was a terrific teacher that passed along his knowledge of the newspaper business on a practical everyday basis and not classroom programs. With that knowledge I launched my newspaper career that I enjoyed all of my working days. Bob Liter was a true newspaperman with a talent for writing, and an exceptional friend! My sincere thanks, Bob!”
I hope you enjoy the puzzling who-done-its and the fascinating character study of Bob Liter aka Nick Bancroft who, by some standards, is just a good man who falls into the strangest situations.
Yours truly, Martie Liter Ogborn
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