Книга Farewell, My Lovely. Содержание - 41
“She was playing me. She was a little afraid of me. She didn’t want to kill me because it’s bad business killing a man who is a sort of cop. But she probably would have tried in the end, just as she would have killed Jessie Florian, if Malloy hadn’t saved her the trouble.”
“I bet it’s fun to be played by handsome blondes,” Anna Riordan said. “Even if there is a little risk. As, I suppose, there usually is.”
I didn’t say anything.
“I suppose they can’t do anything to her for killing Malloy, because he had a gun.”
“No. Not with her pull.”
The goldflecked eyes studied me solemnly. “Do think she meant to kill Malloy?”
“She was afraid of him,” I said. “She had turned him in eight years ago. He seemed to know that. But he wouldn’t have hurt her. He was in love with her too. Yes, I think she meant to kill anybody she had to kill. She had a lot to fight for. But you can’t keep that sort of thing up indefinitely. She took a shot at me in my apartment — but the gun was empty then. She ought to have killed me out on the bluff when she killed Marriott.”
“He was in love with her,” Anne said softly. “I mean Malloy. It didn’t matter to him that she hadn’t written to him in six years or ever gone to see him while he was in jail. It didn’t matter to him that she had turned him in for a reward. He just bought some fine clothes and started to look for her the first thing when he got out. So she pumped five bullets into him, by way of saying hello. He had killed two people himself, but he was in love with her. What a world.”
I finished my drink and got the thirsty look on my face again. She ignored it. She said:
“And she had to tell Grayle where she came from and he didn’t care. He went away to marry her under another name and sold his radio station to break contact with anybody who might know her and he gave her everything that money can buy and she gave him — what?”
“That’s hard to say.” I shook the ice cubes at the bottom of my glass. That didn’t get me anything either. “I suppose she gave him a sort of pride that he, a rather old man, could have a young and beautiful and dashing wife. He loved her. What the hell are we talking about it for? These things happen all the time. It didn’t make any difference what she did or who she played around with or what she had once been. He loved her.”
“Like Moose Malloy,” Anne said quietly.
“Let’s go riding along the water.”
“You didn’t tell me about Brunette or the cards that were in those reefers or Amthor or Dr. Sonderborg or that little clue that set you on the path of the great solution.”
“I gave Mrs. Florian one of my cards. She put a wet glass on it. Such a card was in Marriott’s pockets, wet glass mark and all. Marriott was not a messy man. That was a clue, of sorts. Once you suspected anything it was easy to find out other connections, such as that Marriott owned a trust deed on Mrs. Florian’s home, just to keep her in line. As for Amthor, he’s a bad hat. They picked him up in a New York hotel and they say he’s an international con man. Scotland Yard has his prints, also Paris. How the hell they got all that since yesterday or the day before I don’t know. These boys work fast when they feel like it. I think Randall has had this thing taped for days and was afraid I’d step on the tapes. But Amthor had nothing to do with killing anybody. Or with Sonderborg. They haven’t found Sonderborg yet. They think he has a record too, but they’re not sure until they get him. As for Brunette, you can’t get anything on a guy like Brunette. They’ll have him before the Grand Jury and he’ll refuse to say anything, on his constitutional rights. He doesn’t have to bother about his reputation. But there’s a nice shakeup here in Bay City. Chief has been canned and half the detectives have been reduced to acting patrolmen, and a very nice guy named Red Norgaard, who helped me get on the Montecito, has got his job back. The mayor is doing all this, changing his pants hourly while the crisis lasts.”
“Do you have to say things like that?”
“The Shakespearean touch. Let’s go riding. After we’ve had another drink.”
“You can have mine,” Anne Riordan said, and got up and brought her untouched drink over to me. She stood in front of me holding it, her eyes wide and a little frightened.
“You’re so marvelous,” she said. “So brave, so determined and you work for so little money. Everybody bats you over the head and chokes you and smacks your jaw and fills you with morphine, but you just keep right on hitting between tackle and end until they’re all worn out. What makes you so wonderful?”
“Go on,” I growled. “Spill it.”
Anne Riordan said thoughtfully: “I’d like to be kissed, damn you!”
It took over three months to find Velma. They wouldn’t believe Grayle didn’t know where she was and hadn’t helped her get away. So every cop and newshawk in the country looked in all the places where money might be hidng her. And money wasn’t hiding her at all. Although the way she hid was pretty obvious once it was found out.
One night a Baltimore detective with a camera eye as rare as a pink zebra wandered into a night club and listened to the band and looked at a handsome black-haired, black browed torcher who could sing as if she meant it. Something in her face struck a chord and the chord went on vibrating.
He went back to Headquarters and got out the Wanted file and started through the pile of readers. When he came to the one he wanted he looked at it a long time. Then he straightened his straw hat on his head and went back to the night club and got hold of the manager. They went back to the dressing rooms behind the shell and the manager knocked on one of the doors. It wasn’t locked. The dick pushed the manager aside and went in and locked it.
He must have smelled marihuana because she was smoking it, but he didn’t pay any attention then. She was sitting in front of a triple mirror, studying the roots of her hair and eyebrows. They were her own eyebrows. The dick stepped across the room smiling and handed her the reader.
She must have looked at the face on the reader almost as long as the dick had down at Headquarters. There was a lot to think about while she was looking at it. The dick sat down and crossed his legs and lit a cigarette. He had a good eye, but he had over-specialized. He didn’t know enough about women.
Finally she laughed a little and said: “You’re a smart lad, copper. I thought I had a voice that would be remembered. A friend recognized me by it once, just hearing it on the radio. But I’ve been singing with this band for a month — twice a week on a network — and nobody gave it a thought.”
“I never heard the voice,” the dick said and went on smiling.
She said: “I suppose we can’t make a deal on this. You know, there’s a lot in it, if it’s handled right.”
“Not with me,” the dick said. “Sorry.”
“Let’s go then,” she said and stood up and grabbed up her bag and got her coat from a hanger. She went over to him holding the coat out so he could help her into it. He stood up and held it for her like a gentleman.
She turned and slipped a gun out of her bag and shot him three times through the coat he was holding.
She had two bullets left in the gun when they crashed the door. They got halfway across the room before she used them. She used them both, but the second shot must have been pure reflex. They caught her before she hit the floor, but her head was already hanging by a rag.
“The dick lived until the next day,” Randall said, telling me about it. “He talked when he could. That’s how we have the dope. I can’t understand him being so careless, unless he really was thinking of letting her talk him into a deal of some kind. That would clutter up his mind. But I don’t like to think that, of course.”