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Книга The Adventures Of Sam Spade. Содержание - A man called spade

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SAMUEL SPADE put his telephone aside and looked at his watch. It was not quite four o'clock. He called, “Yoo-hoo!”

Effie Perine came in from the outer office. She was eating a piece of chocolate cake.

“Tell Sid Wise I won't be able to keep that date this afternoon,” he said.

She put the last of the cake into her mouth and licked the tips of forefinger and thumb. “That's the third time this week.”

When he smiled, the v's of his chin, mouth, and brows grew longer. “I know, but I've got to go out and save a life.” He nodded at the telephone. “Somebody's scaring Max Bliss.”

She laughed. “Probably somebody named John D. Conscience.”

He looked up at her from the cigarette he had begun to make. “Know anything I ought to know about him?”

“Nothing you don't know. I was just thinking about the time he let his brother go to San Quentin.”

Spade shrugged. “That's not the worst thing he's done.” He lit his cigarette, stood up, and reached for his hat. “But he's all right now. All Samuel Spade clients are honest, God-fearing folk. If I'm not back at closing time just run along.”

He went to a tall apartment building on Nob Hill, pressed a button set in the frame of a door marked 10K. The door was opened immediately by a burly dark man in wrinkled dark clothes. He was nearly bald and carried a gray hat in one hand.

The burly man said, “Hello, Sam.” He smiled, but his small eyes lost none of their shrewdness. “What are you doing here?”

Spade said, “Hello, Torn.” His face was wooden, his voice expressionless. “Bliss in?”

“Is he!” Tom pulled down the corners of his thick-lipped mouth. “You don't have to worry about that.”

Spade's brows came together. “Well?”

A man appeared in the vestibule behind Tom. He was smaller than either Spade or Tom, but compactly built. He had a ruddy, square face and a close-trimmed, grizzled mustache. His clothes were neat. He wore a black bowler perched on the back of his head.

Spade addressed this man over Tom's shoulder: “Hello, Dundy.”

Dundy nodded briefly and came to the door. His blue eyes were hard and prying.

“What is it?” he asked Tom.

“B-1-i-s-s, M-a-x,” Spade spelled patiently. “I want to see him. He wants to see me. Catch on?”

Tom laughed. Dundy did not. Tom said, “Only one of you gets your wish.” Then he glanced sidewise at Dundy and abruptly stopped laughing. He seemed uncomfortable.

Spade scowled. “All right,” he demanded irritably; “is he dead or has he killed somebody?”

Dundy thrust his square face up at Spade and seemed to push his words out with his lower Up. “What makes you think either?”

Spade said, “Oh, sure! I come calling on Mr. Bliss and I'm stopped at the door by a couple of men from the police Homicide Detail, and I'm supposed to think I'm just interrupting a game of rummy.”

“Aw, stop it, Sam,” Tom grumbled, looking at neither Spade nor Dundy. “He's dead.”


Tom wagged his head slowly up and down. He looked at Spade now. “What've you got on it?”

Spade replied in a deliberate monotone, “He called me up this afternoon—say at five minutes to four—I looked at my watch after he hung up and there was still a minute or so to go—and said somebody was after his scalp. He wanted me to come over. It seemed real enough to him—it was up in his neck all right.” He made a small gesture with one hand. “Well, here I am.”

“Didn't say who or how?” Dundy asked.

Spade shook his head. “No. Just somebody had offered to kill him and he believed them, and would I come over right away.”

“Didn't he—?” Dundy began quickly.

“He didn't say anything else,” Spade said. “Don't you people tell me anything?”

Dundy said curtly, “Come in and take a look at him.”

Tom said, “It's a sight.”

They went across the vestibule and through a door into a green and rose living-room.

A man near the door stopped sprinkling white powder on the end of a glass-covered small table to say, “Hello, Sam.”

Spade nodded, said, “How are you, Phels?” and then nodded at the two men who stood talking by a window.

The dead man lay with his mouth open. Some of his clothes had been taken off. His throat was puffy and dark. The end of his tongue showing in a corner of his mouth was bluish, swollen. On his bare chest, over the heart, a five-pointed star had been outlined in black ink and in the center of it a T.

Spade looked down at the dead man and stood for a moment silently studying him. Then he asked, “He was found like that?”

“About,” Tom said. “We moved him around a little.” He jerked a thumb at the shirt, undershirt, vest, and coat lying on a table. “They were spread over the floor.”

Spade rubbed his chin. His yellow-gray eyes were dreamy. “When?”

Tom said, “We got it at four-twenty. His daughter gave it to us.” He moved his head to indicate a closed door. “You'll see her.”

“Know anything?”

“Heaven knows,” Tom said wearily. “She's been kind of hard to get along with so far.” He turned to Dundy. “Want to try her again now?”

Dundy nodded, then spoke to one of the men at the window. “Start sifting his papers, Mack. He's supposed to've been threatened.”

Mack said, “Right.” He pulled his hat down over his eyes and walked towards a green secretaire in the far end of the room.

A man came in from the corridor, a heavy man of fifty with a deeply lined, grayish face under a broad-brimmed black hat. He said, “Hello, Sam,” and then told Dundy, “He had company around half past two, stayed just about an hour. A big blond man in brown, maybe forty or forty-five. Didn't send his name up. I got it from the Filipino in the elevator that rode him both ways.”

“Sure it was only an hour?” Dundy asked.

The gray-faced man shook his head. “But he's sure it wasn't more than half past three when he left. He says the afternoon papers came in then, and this man had ridden down with him before they came.” He pushed his hat back to scratch his head, then pointed a thick finger at the design inked on the dead man's breast and asked somewhat plaintively, “What the deuce do you suppose that thing is?”

Nobody replied. Dundy asked, “Can the elevator boy identify him?”

“He says he could, but that ain't always the same thing. Says he never saw him before.” He stopped looking at the dead man. “The girl's getting me a list of his phone calls. How you been, Sam?”

Spade said he had been all right. Then he said slowly, “His brother's big and blond and maybe forty or forty-five.”

Dundy's blue eyes were hard and bright. “So what?” he asked.

“You remember the Graystone Loan swindle. They were both in it, but Max eased the load over on Theodore and it turned out to be one to fourteen years in San Quentin.”

Dundy was slowly wagging his head up and down. “I remember now. Where is he?”

Spade shrugged and began to make a cigarette.

Dundy nudged Tom with an elbow. “Find out.”

Tom said, “Sure, but if he was out of here at half past three and this fellow was still alive at five to four—”

“And he broke his leg so he couldn't duck back in,” the gray-faced man said jovially.

“Find out,” Dundy repeated.

Tom said, “Sure, sure,” and went to the telephone.

Dundy addressed the gray-faced man: “Check up on the newspapers; see what time they were actually delivered this afternoon.”

The gray-faced man nodded and left the room.

The man who had been searching the secretaire said, “Uh-huh,” and turned around holding an envelope in one hand, a sheet of paper in the other.

Dundy held out his hand. “Something?”

The man said, “Uh-huh,” again and gave Dundy the sheet of paper.

Spade was looking over Dundy's shoulder.

It was a small sheet of common white paper bearing a penciled message in neat, undistinguished handwriting:

When this reaches you I will be too close for you to escape —this time. We will balance our accounts—for good.

The signature was a five-pointed star enclosing a T, the design on the dead man's left breast.

Dundy held out his hand again and was given the envelope. Its stamp was French. The address was typewritten:



“Postmarked Paris,” he said, “the second of the month.” He counted swiftly on his fingers. “That would get it here today, all right.” He folded the message slowly, put it in the envelope, put the envelope in his coat pocket. “Keep digging,” he told the man who had found the message.

The man nodded and returned to the secretaire.

Dundy looked at Spade. “What do you think of it?”

Spade's brown cigarette wagged up and down with the words. “I don't like it. I don't like any of it.”

Tom put down the telephone. “He got out the fifteenth of last month,” he said. “I got them trying to locate him.”

Spade went to the telephone, called a number, and asked for Mr. Darrell. Then: “Hello, Harry, this is Sam Spade. . . . Fine. How's Lil? . .. Yes. … Listen, Harry, what does a five-pointed star with a capital T in the middle mean? . . . What? How do you spell it? … Yes, I see. . . . And if you found it on a body? . . . Neither do I. … Yes, and thanks. I'll tell you about it when I see you. . . .Yes, give me a ring. . . . Thanks. . . . 'By.”

Dundy and Tom were watching him closely when he turned from the telephone. He said, “That's a fellow who knows things sometimes. He says it's a pentagram with a Greek tau—t-a-u—in the middle; a sign magicians used to use. Maybe Rosicrucians still do.”

“What's a Rosicrucian?” Tom asked.

“It could be Theodore's first initial, too,” Dundy said.

Spade moved his shoulders, said carelessly, “Yes, but if he wanted to autograph the job it'd been just as easy for him to sign his name.”

He then went on more thoughtfully, “There are Rosicrucians at both San Jose and Point Loma. I don't go much for this, but maybe we ought to look them up.”

Dundy nodded.

Spade looked at the dead man's clothes o'n the table. “Anything in his pockets?”

“Only what you'd expect to find,” Dundy replied. “It's on the table there.”

Spade went to the table and looked down at the little pile of watch and chain, keys, wallet, address book, money, gold pencil, handkerchief, and spectacle case beside the clothing. He did not touch them, but slowly picked up, one at a time, the dead man's shirt, undershirt, vest, and coat. A blue necktie lay on the table beneath them. He scowled irritably at it. “It hasn't been worn,” he complained.

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