Andrew Mason is just filling in for his private detective father when he gets caught up in an interstellar feud between Cheryl Curtis and her uncle Seth. A brilliant scientist, Cheryl invented The Matter Transport Array and Seth wants the rights to it, but Cheryl and her niece Anthea evade Seth by going through the Array to a carefully chosen planet. Seth's response is to round up private detectives and shove them through the Array, promising a fat bonus for anyone who brings back the fugitives.
So far none have returned. Andrew faces many adventures, including battles and deadly encounters in his quest to Cheryl and her beautiful daughter.
I didn't know that a hole had been punched in the fabric of space and time, at least not until I met Uncle Seth.
That was the day two heavy looking characters walked into the office and asked if I was the proprietor. I said no, I was his son and looking after the business while he was away.
They said they had a job for me and could I come and talk to their boss about it. I didn't like the look of either of them, but business is business, so I said, 'yes, certainly. I can spend an hour with your boss, but no more, I have other appointments.”. They drove me to the classiest and most expensive suburb in town.
I was shocked when we stopped outside one of the mansions which lined the street, it looked as if it was in recovery mode after an earthquake. But there had been no stories on TV about an earthquake in our city, and the grand, expensive houses on either side and over the road seemed untouched.
The house we had come to was surrounded by scaffolding. Teams of workers were repairing cracks in walls, restoring fallen chimneys, replacing glass in broken windows, fitting new roof tiles.
The men with me ignored my questions except to say that the boss would explain everything, and we entered.
The interior of the house, like the outside, was a mess. A marble staircase leading to the next floor was cracked and propped up by heavy timber poles. We went up. It was safe enough, but you had to watch where you stepped.
We walked along a passage. Huge cracks ran across the walls in jagged patterns. Plaster had fallen off in chunks and the ceilings were starting to sag. I noticed frames holding broken pieces of mirror which had not yet fallen out. Pictures hanging on the wall had lost glass the same way. Planks had been laid where the floor was in a dangerous state.
There were more workers inside. Painters, plasterers, electricians, and carpenters all busy cleaning up and repairing. Their work-lights and tools were drawing power from cables that snaked through the broken windows down to an electrical generator in the garden. It was a big one, even through noise they were making inside the house I could hear the engine running. We walked the plank over holes in the floor and went further into the house, then into a room which had seen better times. It too was decorated with, a spider web of cracks and some holes where lumps of plaster had fallen out.
I met the boss in that room. He was a big man in a wheel-chair, seated at a desk that seemed to have suffered disasters along with the rest of the house. He was black bearded, but bald on top. It looked as though hair fallen from his head had got stuck on the way down and joined his eyebrows and beard. The beard was so thick and his face so covered by hair that he seemed to be glaring at me through heavy shrubbery. Neither of us was impressed with what we saw. 'They're getting younger,' he said.
“Yair, we're running out of the older blokes.”
At that moment it became clear. This was the man responsible for all the disappearances. I turned to run, but too late. His goons caught me by both arms and held on. I wasn't running anywhere.
It's alright, lad,' said the bearded one. 'I'm just offering you a job. It's worth two hundred and fifty a day, plus expenses.'
At least a dozen enquiry agents had disappeared in the past few months along with my Dad.
'What have you done with my father?'
'Your father? What's his name?'
'William Mason -- Bill.Mason'
He looked at me and muttered. 'Mason? Mason?' Enlightenment came. 'Oh yeah, I remember, quiet sort of guy. I employed him too. He's out there somewhere trying to find my niece and her daughter.'
My Dad, off somewhere looking for missing people?? That wasn’t his style. He preferred to be known as an 'Enquiry Agent' rather than detective, and specialized in finding people who had run away, been kidnapped, or were lost. But the man's story was the most unlikely I had heard for a while. To find anyone who disappeared Dad would have demanded their computer, their files, memory sticks and the like. That was where he always started, and he wouldn't have gone off without telling us.