She was leaning against the door. Her smile was a sickly twisted grimace; the sort a prisoner gives a judge when he's asked if he has anything to say before he's sentenced. Russell Haxby is a ruthless used-car salesman obsessed with manipulating and cavorting with married women. In this classic of hard-boiled fiction, Charles Willeford crafts a wry, sardonic tale of hypocrisy, intrigue, and lust set in San Francisco in the early '50s. In High Priest of California every sentence masks innuendo, every detail hides a clue, and every used-car sale is as outrageous as every seduction. First published 1953.