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Goodbye, Tootsie: A 1920s Romantic Mystery

Goodbye, Tootsie: A 1920s Romantic Mystery

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Goodbye, Tootsie: A 1920s Romantic Mystery

Length:
402 pages
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 7, 2015
ISBN:
9781311026200
Format:
Book

Description

Mystery and Romance in 1920s Manhattan...

New York City, 1925

It’s after midnight on New Year’s Day, and the richest girl in America has just fallen to her death from the top floor of the posh Cleveland Hotel in Manhattan.

When Detective Sean Costigan arrives at the scene, he learns it’s the day after Abigail Welles’s twenty-first birthday—the day she inherited a family fortune. It’s not the kind of coincidence that warms a detective’s heart. Neither is the fact that she wasn’t alone when she fell. Her new husband, Long Island party boy Nick Welles, lies incoherent in the master bedroom.

Sean’s girl, tabloid reporter Trixie Frank, is the first newshound on the scene. It’s a bigger scoop than she dreamed. The young heiress’s death will make national headlines. More importantly, this story hits close to home. And heart. The victim’s husband is Trixie’s ex-fiancé.

When Sean focuses on Nick as his prime suspect, Trixie is certain he’s dead wrong. But will saving her first love from the hot seat prove fatal to her new romance?

Product Description:
Love historical mystery? Love romance? Why not order up a generous serving of both?

Goodbye, Tootsie is a stand-alone romantic mystery sequel to It Had to Be You. It’s a complete mystery that can be read alone, after the first book, or before the first book. It contains romantic elements, which means it may include love scenes (sensual but not graphic). 97,000 words

Publisher:
Released:
Sep 7, 2015
ISBN:
9781311026200
Format:
Book

About the author

Delynn Royer is the older, smarter, funnier, more ornery alter ego of author Donna Grove, who, as a young mother, published several historical romances. The first, A Touch of Camelot, won a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Soon after, Delynn set aside her pen to concentrate on her day job and raising her sons.Now that she has completed her finest achievement – that of launching two upstanding young men into the world – she has returned to her first love, writing.She has updated editions of her backlist to be made available as ebooks and is happily penning a new romantic mystery series set in 1920s Manhattan. The first, It Had to Be You, was released in ebook format by Carina Press in April 2014. Its sequel, Goodbye, Tootsie, was released in 2015 and is available at online retailers. Book three, Good Night, Angela, was released in January 2017.


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Goodbye, Tootsie - Delynn Royer

GOODBYE, TOOTSIE

A Trixie Frank – Sean Costigan 1920s Romantic Mystery

Delynn Royer

Copyright © 2015 Delynn Royer

Smashwords Edition – September 2015

Published by Delynn Royer

Cover Art Design © by Fiona Jayde Media

Cover Model Photography by RomanceNovelCovers.com (RNC)

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It may not be re-sold

or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person,

please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did

not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your

favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard

work of this author.

Will saving her first love from the hot seat prove fatal to her new romance?

Trixie’s hair clung cold and wet against her neck. The snow that had melted and managed to penetrate her coat had left the thin, impractical sheath material of her party dress damp and clinging all the way through to her underclothes.

Sean spoke from behind, making her jump. I got coffee if you want.

What?

He towered over her, his raven hair shining and damp from the melting snow, his dark blue eyes cool and appraising. Coffee.

Um, yes... that would be nice.

He didn’t move, and a blush burned her cheeks.

You’re still sore at me, aren’t you? she asked.

The look he gave her was answer enough before he brushed by her to get to the kitchen. He snapped on an overhead light and yanked open a cupboard.

Trixie closed her eyes. She was dizzy. She wished she hadn’t had so much champagne. When she opened her eyes again, he’d lit a flame on the stove and was running water into a coffee pot. That’s okay, she said. You have a right to be sore. I guess I would be too.

Silence.

She forged on. I’m not in love with Nick. I did love him once, and I care about what happens to him now. That doesn’t mean I want to be with him.

Sean smacked off the faucet and looked at her flatly. You sure about that?

Trixie opened her mouth, but no words issued. She was stunned by his question. The thought hadn’t even crossed her mind... had it?

***

Other Trixie Frank – Sean Costigan Romantic Mysteries

It Had to Be You

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to Mandy Brown, Mallory Braus, and Hope Stephen for giving this manuscript the once-over and the twice-over to help whip it into shape. Your feedback and editorial suggestions were invaluable in getting this story right. As for the mistakes that inevitably still lurk between these lines? All mine.

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

About the Author

Coming Next... Good Night, Angela

Other Ebooks by Delynn Royer

Chapter One

New York City, New Year’s Eve, 1924

It was murder.

Or so this interminable night seemed to Abigail Whittaker Stewart Welles.

 It was New Year’s Eve, not to mention her twenty-first birthday, and so a night out on the town seemed in order. Abigail’s young, rich friends promised her it would be one rollicking fun night indeed.

They had dinner at the Cleveland Hotel followed by two hours in a speakeasy on Columbus Avenue, where they listened to jazz music and laughed over bad jokes and whiskey sours.

Abigail sipped lamely at her drink and felt queasy as she watched her friends take to the dance floor—Freddie and Hazel and Marjorie and Ralph. The girls flashed nubile knees and waved gleefully as they danced their own mad versions of the Charleston.

 What’s the matter, Tootsie? You’ve hardly touched your drink. Not feeling well?

Her new husband, Nick, put a hand over hers when they were alone at their table. Even then, with what she knew, she still went swoony when she looked too long into those velvet brown eyes. Nick Welles was more than just good looking, he was deadly. No getting around that. Such a fool she was. Poor little rich girl… But she wasn’t that girl any more.

No more.

 Not so keen, Abigail said. Don’t know if it’s something I ate or what.

We can go if you want.

Abigail offered a smile that felt as painted on as that of a French doll. Don’t be silly. I won’t be the one to spoil everyone’s party.

Her vague assurance worked. The concern in Nick’s eyes faded. He squeezed her hand gently. You could never do that, darling.

He was wrong on that count.

Later, even wrapped as she was in her sealskin coat, the air in Times Square chilled her to the bone. The place was packed with revelers, old and young, rich and poor, many drunk on plentiful illegal spirits.

When the four hundred-pound illuminated ball dropped from the flagpole on Times Tower, the noise of the crowd, with its horns and rattles and cheers, swelled until her temples throbbed. In the white glare of neon and a rainfall of confetti, Nick swept her up about the waist and kissed her soundly on the mouth while, next to them, her cousin, Freddie, and his girl, Hazel, broke into song.

Moments later, with the shouting throng jostling around them and the sweet bourbon taste of Nick still lingering on her lips, Abigail stood shivering while the others debated whether to catch a special midnight performance at the Capitol Theatre or find another gin mill. It was Marjorie who suggested they head up to Harlem where the real music was, but it was Nick who put the kibosh on their ideas. He was, after all, an old man of twenty-eight and just about all done in.

Why not toddle back to the Cleveland where Abigail’s uncle had arranged for them to have exclusive use of the family’s Presidential Suite? They could kick off their shoes and relax over a couple bottles of scotch. What say?

As was the usual order of the day, Nick’s idea settled the matter completely.

On to 45th Street and over to Madison their salubrious sextet toddled, stopping only once along the way when Marjorie slipped on the icy pavement and couldn’t get up amid a fit of the giggles. Poor Freddie, in an attempt to render rescue, hit the pavement on top of her, setting off a new wave of merriment. Abigail doubted they would find it so funny in the morning when they woke up with their shiny new bruises.

Their group stumbled gaily in through the shining revolving doors of the newest grand hostel in New York City, then up a carpeted staircase into the chandeliered lobby to pass beneath a gleaming gold clock that read half past midnight. As they waited for an elevator, Freddie told an off-color joke that sent Marjorie into a round of hysterics. A white-gloved porter came scurrying, but Nick shooed the man off.

Say, I think that fella wanted to give us the gate, Marjorie said as they stepped into the elevator. Abby, maybe you should buy this joint. Teach these old fogies a thing or two about how to have a bit of fun.

Abigail gave Marjorie a perfunctory smile to acknowledge the joke. Except it wasn’t really a joke. Abigail could buy this place if she wanted. This place and another like it and several dozen on top of that and still have change left over for coffee. It was preposterous. Downright immoral if one thought about it deeply enough, and Abigail had thought about it very deeply indeed. She hadn’t worked a day in her life.

Nick clasped her elbow when they stepped out on the top floor. Have you got the key, Toots?

Stupid, Abigail muttered as she fumbled through her purse. Had she forgotten the thing? So much on her mind lately. Appointments, dreams, wills and trusts. Her family. Hovering, flesh-eating carrion birds. All of them… except Freddie, of course. And now, Nick.

How did one ask one’s husband of six months for a divorce anyhow? Was it something one blurted out over dinner? She’d forgotten to ask Anna this question, and their next session wasn’t for another week.

Key found, door opened, they streamed into the spacious Presidential Suite, laughing and chatting and in search of the cabinet where Uncle Charlton kept two bottles of scotch whiskey.

Eureka! Nick uncapped a bottle of scotch and signaled Freddie to find glasses. One last toast to the birthday girl.

While Nick mixed a dollop of ginger ale in the girls’ drinks and poured three neat for the boys, Hazel set about finding a music station still broadcasting on the radio.

Marjorie flounced onto the sofa. Say, Ralphie, got a cigarette? I’m all out.

As Ralph lit a cigarette for Marjorie, Hazel found a station playing ballroom music, and Nick handed drinks all around. He raised his glass. To Tootsie, my Abigail, my lovely bride, who has officially reached her age of majority. Congratulations, doll, you’ve made it!

To Tootsie! Hazel thrust her glass up so high, amber liquid sloshed out over the rim.

"To Tootsie!" the rest joined in unison.

Abigail smiled and nodded to be polite—an old habit ingrained in her since a childhood where no moment spent outside the bathroom could safely be called private. She sipped neatly while the others gulped and thanked them for their good wishes even as her stomach threatened to revolt.

Say, Nicky, how about some playing cards? Without waiting for an answer, Marjorie sprang up and moved to a mahogany escritoire.

It wasn’t Marjorie’s casual use of her husband’s nickname that caused Abigail to send a sharp and wounded look in Nick’s direction, it was the fact that Marjorie found Uncle Charlton’s deck of cards on her first try when she yanked open the bottom left drawer.

How about a game of pinochle? Marjorie’s blue eyes shined as she waved the silver card case. Or maybe some mixed strip poker? We’re all grown-ups now. What about it, girls?

That one jarring moment had come and gone. Neither Marjorie nor Freddie nor Hazel had gleaned its significance, but Abigail had, and so had Nick. His ever-present smile didn’t fade, but something in those amused brown eyes sobered when he caught Abigail’s look.

Abigail took a determined swallow of her scotch, set down her glass, still half full, and rose shakily to her feet. Dark splotches pulsed before her eyes. Her tongue had grown thick. I’m sorry… have a… headache.

She focused on the door to the master bedroom and stumbled toward it. Good grief, on top of everything, was she drunk? She’d hardly touched the stuff.

Here, darling. Nick was beside her, supporting her. You don’t look so swell.

Let go of me. Abigail spoke from between clenched teeth. A surge of anger had arisen like bile in her throat. It tasted foreign and bitter, but—as Anna would have said—it was well past time she showed some backbone. She just wished she didn’t feel like such bloody blasted hell when it finally happened.

It was Nick who fumbled the door open and pressed the light switch, then snapped it off again when Abigail winced at its brightness. It was Nick who closed the door and led her to the bed by the light of the moon that filtered in through glass terrace doors.

Abigail collapsed atop the plush bedspread, fists clenched. She was still angry but maddeningly helpless to lash out, to slap him or rail at him or yank off her wedding ring and throw it in his face. How many times has she been here before?

Nick sat beside her on the bed. When has who been here, darling? You’re not making sense.

 You know who! You’ve never left off with her. I know all about it. I want a divorce. I want you away from me and out of my house!

From somewhere far off it seemed, the bedroom door opened, then her cousin’s voice, inquiring, unsure. Everything all right in here? Nick?

Fine, Fred. It’s fine. She’s—

I want a divorce! Abigail was as angry at her own failings as she was at Nick’s infidelity. "Everything is not fine!"

It’s nothing, Fred. Go back to the others. I’ll see that she gets some rest.

There was a pause. All right. Are you... sure?

Quite. Go on.

Then Freddie was gone and, with him, Abigail’s fury. She was so tired, she couldn’t think. She did want a divorce... didn’t she? She had decided this for sure. Hadn’t she? Where was Anna when she needed her?

Nick’s voice was soothing. Toots, come now, settle down. It’s the booze talking. Either that or that charlatan you’ve been seeing. Dream analysis and hypnosis. What bunk. Sit up, darling. You can’t sleep in your clothes.

But I love Anna... Abigail was suddenly small. No longer a determined young woman who knew her own mind but a mere child, a child alone. Warm tears spilled down her cheeks. She sat up as she was told.

Can’t tell if she’s a Bolshevik or a flimflam artist, Nick muttered. She only cares about your money.

That’s all they ever care about… damn money.

On the other side of the bedroom door, the others laughed as if nothing were wrong, as if 1925 was to be a year like any other. They were oblivious to Abigail’s turmoil as Nick gently unbuttoned her dress and pushed it down over her shoulders.

He had good hands, strong hands, long, well-formed, exquisitely talented fingers. Those fingers were as skilled at card tricks and caressing a young woman’s skin as they were at picking out a ragtime tune on the piano.

He murmured something about seeing things differently in the morning, unbuckled her shoes, rolled down her stockings.

I mean it... Abigail lifted her arms when he told her to, allowing him to pull the sleeves of her nightgown down. She fell back onto the bed. Her head hurt, she could barely think. She curled toward him. I want a divorce.

 No divorce. Nick’s breath warmed against her ear. I’m sorry, darling. So sorry. I love you so. Do you... hear?

Yesss. She reached for him.

His lips brushed her cheek. My darling girl, my sweet...

And Abigail remembered no more.

Chapter Two

Two leapers in one night. Sean Costigan hated the holidays. People acted like jackasses around the holidays. That accounted for most of it, but leapers were the worst. Leapers topped the list.

It was 2:15 in the morning, and Sean had been at this leaper scene for exactly twelve minutes. He’d spent most of that time flashing his shield and pushing through a chattering group of curiosity seekers that had formed along the slick pavement in front of the Cleveland Hotel on Madison Avenue.

Even at this hour, the streets were not empty, especially this one, located as close as it was to the theater district and Grand Central. The blood-soaked blanket and the corpse that reposed beneath it had—in the forty-five minutes that had elapsed since the girl had fallen—attracted a surprisingly large crowd.

What do you think, Detective? a young patrolman asked. Why is a nice young dame like that doing a dry dive?

What makes you so sure it’s suicide? Sean asked.

The patrolman’s name was Pete Burgen. He stood next to the body, stamping his feet and blowing white puffs into his gloved hands to keep warm. Sean knew him from another scene they’d worked, that of the Central Park murder of a gangster named Johnny Blue Eyes Murphy. The Murphy case had been big news. This case, though gruesome, appeared run-of-the-mill. Not a bootlegger or Tommy gun in sight.

I don’t know, Pete said in answer to Sean’s question. He looked bored with his duty this night, which was to keep the gawkers away while an assistant medical examiner, photographer and two precinct detectives worked the scene. It’s late. Who’s even up but us and the ones feeling sorry for themselves? Sure, this is a fancy joint, but you know them rich girls. There ain’t no one thinks they got it worse than they do. See for yourself.

Sean hunkered down and drew back the blanket far enough to see if the girl was identifiable. She was. Or at least part of her was. Thick chestnut brown hair had been cut in a short bob, and full pink lips were parted as if ready to speak. Her nose remained straight and remarkably undamaged. Likewise, the skin on the side of her face that hadn’t been shattered was pristine, baby smooth and unmarked by the massive trauma that had been visited upon the rest of her body.

Aside from the lifeless eyes that stared like black marbles to the night sky, Sean imagined what she might have looked like an hour ago. One hour. Time meant everything. An hour ago, she’d been pretty. And young. Nineteen? Twenty?

Precinct detective Gus Mooney approached, plucking a notepad from the pocket of his coat. Sporting a paunch and pushing fifty, he offered Sean a wiseacre smirk. Is headquarters rousting you homicide dicks outta bed for every holiday leaper these days?

Sean absorbed the ribbing in as much good humor as he could muster at this hour. He only knew the older detective in passing, and so the news of his recent promotion to the Homicide Squad had travelled uptown pretty fast.

When someone dives out a window at the Cleveland, the D.A. will want to make sure no stone is left unturned, Sean said. Do we have a name yet? Room number?

Nah. One of the porters recognized her from a group of rich kids that rolled in after midnight. They took the elevator, but he didn’t see which floor, and the elevator boy went off at one. The night clerk’s new. Said he didn’t recognize her. One thing’s for sure though.

What’s that?

"She’s someone’s wife. Get a load of the rock on her finger."

Sean pulled the blanket back more, causing a surge of chatter from the spectators. He was no aficionado of gems, but the diamond ring was impressive. Two or three carats glinted in the floodlight that bathed the pavement as the photographer finished setting up his equipment.

Yet it wasn’t the diamond solitaire that interested Sean, nor the diamond-encrusted wedding band, it was manicured, pink-polished fingernails. The white tips of her thumb and last two fingernails were filed into delicate crescents. The remaining two nails were broken, their jagged edges suggesting they’d been snapped off, maybe due to her fall, but perhaps before.

The back of her left hand was scratched. Her palm was worse, not only scratched but torn and abraded in a way that didn’t look like an impact injury. Despite what Pete Burgen thought, few women, rich or poor, leapt to their deaths. If they wanted to end their lives, they were more likely to use poison or drugs. This one had tried to save herself.

Any witnesses? Sean asked. Anyone call the desk?

Only one, Mooney said, but not from the hotel. A lady named Miller. She was crossing the street when she heard a scream and saw the dame fall.

Sean stood as the photographer callously yanked the blanket away from the body. Gasps of mingled horror and fascination erupted from the crowd. Hell.

Sean had been to war and back. He’d worked violent crimes for years. It shouldn’t have grated at him to see a victim treated like a specimen, but it did. It was the part of him that still saw a human being behind empty dilated eyes or wondered what a dead girl had looked like just an hour before. It was not the part that stood detached and curious at each new scene, the part that asked questions and noticed details. Details like the scattering of a few small leaves when the photographer had yanked away that blanket.

Sean picked up one of the leaves. Deep green, shiny surface, prickly tips. Yet there wasn’t a bush or tree in sight. He put the leaf in his pocket.

 Did the witness see from which window she fell? he asked Mooney. He looked away as the photographer’s flashgun popped.

No. Nineteen floors and a dozen windows on each of them facing the street. None look to be broken or open from here. We’ll be knocking on doors till the sun comes up. She fell from pretty high up though.

That much was obvious by the wretched state of the body. The girl wore a silky white nightgown. There wasn’t much where blood hadn’t seeped through.

The assistant medical examiner, a morose, cadaverous, bespectacled fellow aptly named Crane, approached, medical bag dangling from one bony hand. Nothing more I can do here.

You got any surprises for me? Sean asked.

Crane didn’t so much as blink behind his thick eyeglasses. Are you surprised by multiple traumatic injuries?

No.

Then I’ve got no surprises, Detective.

Any idea how far she fell?

Crane sucked in a breath, peered upward to take measure of the new hotel’s impressive height. Pretty darn far.

Sean had been on duty almost twelve hours. He knew better than to waste good sarcasm on Crane, but he couldn’t contain it. Is that a scientific estimate?

Crane looked at him, deadpan. Yes.

How soon till you get her on the table?

Crane shook his head. Busy night, but a girl from this end of town? Maybe if she’s a Rockefeller, by noon.

Oh, my stars! My lord! Sweet land of liberty! From somewhere in the crowd, a man’s voice rose in strident horror. Let me through, I say. This is my hotel. Let me through!

A slight, middle-aged man stepped up on the curb. He was pale and wild-eyed, but his black wool overcoat appeared tailor-made, and his felt hat, though askew, was crisp.

Mooney headed in the man’s direction while Sean wrapped it up with Crane. Let’s pretend she’s the commissioner’s daughter. Get her done by ten.

When Crane shuffled off, Sean joined Mooney, who was painstakingly writing the agitated man’s name in his notepad. Herman Schweitzer. Can you spell that?

The man was beside himself. S-C-H—!

Mr. Schweitzer, Sean cut in, do you know this girl?

Yes, yes! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. It’s Abigail Whittaker Stewart. My stars, this is a disaster. Can’t someone cover her? Give her some respect. This is indecent. If the newspapers get hold of this…

Sean threw Mooney a look, and the older man rolled his eyes. If this girl was anybody, shrieking her name loud enough for the crowd to overhear had guaranteed every sheet in town would have it in time for their morning editions.

***

There were some who called the New York Morning Examiner the trashiest tabloid in town, and perhaps it was. If so, it was the most wildly successful trash to ever hit the newsstands. Lurid headlines, crime, sex and scandal were its bread and butter, the very air it breathed, and it wasn’t alone. With a subscriber base of over one hundred thousand, the Examiner could afford to shrug off its share of high-minded criticism.

On the twelfth floor of the new McClintock Building in the seventeen hundred block of Broadway, Beatrix Frank sat wide awake and fresh as a daisy at her desk in the near-empty Examiner city room. She was tapping out the last words of her story on the Times Square celebration.

Despite her high hopes in volunteering to work this holiday night, there had been no crime (nothing notable anyhow), no sex (that she had seen), nor any celebrity scandal at the Crossroads of the World. In fact, not one darn tootin’ thing had happened that would so much as raise an eyebrow of the typical Examiner reader. Just a whole lot of spifflicated revelers and a flashy celebration that had gone off without a hitch.

Oh, well. She sighed wistfully as she pulled the last sheet from her Remington typewriter. Maybe next year.

There came from her neighboring desk a long and throaty snore.

She looked askance at her young camera man, Finnian MacDougle, who had fallen asleep while she’d been reading her last two paragraphs. He wasn’t alone. Most of the skeleton crew still around—men, all of them—were either snoozing at their desks or sat slumped, arms thrown over the back of their swivel chairs, smoking and indulging in muted, desultory conversation.

Still, if Finnian was so all-fired exhausted, he should have taken a nap earlier in the day like she had. The watchword for any good reporter was to be prepared. Why, at any time of any day the story of the century could—

The telephone bell at one of the empty desks jangled.

Trixie shot a glance at the clock. Quarter past two. Prime time for crime. The occupant of said desk, Miles Rochester, her arch nemesis and the Examiner’s star crime reporter, was in the men’s room.

Ha.

Trixie jammed her toe and tripped over the leg of Miles’s chair but still managed to scramble back up off the floor far enough to reach the phone. She snatched the receiver on the third ring. Trixie—ouch! Frank.

Trix? That you? It was Louis Throckmorton, one of their Centre Street police reporters and Rochester’s loyal crony. Where’s Miles?

Busy. Her toe was screaming like she’d parked a piano on it. She cast an anxious eye toward the city room doors. No Miles. The rest of her co-workers had already lost interest. What’s cooking?

What kind of busy?

You know... busy-busy. So, what’s cooking?

Where’s he at?

He’s out, Louis. Now, spill it.

Out where?

Nuts. Miles would be back at any second. Time for a bluff. Louis, I’m the only one here, and another phone is ringing, so I’m about to hang up—

All right, all right! There’s been an accident at the Cleveland Hotel.

Even her toe perked up. That new place on Madison Avenue? What kind of accident?

Dame fell out a window.

Any name?

Not yet, but it’s a swanky joint. She’s probably got dough. Either that or something stinks. They sent over a homicide dick and an ADA.

Is that all you’ve got?

Louis huffed. Yeah! Do I have to spell it out for you? There’s hijinks going on all over the city, but my source says this just happened. You still got a camera around? If you catch a cab, you can beat it over there in five minutes. Don’t say I never did you no favors, honey doll. There was an impertinent click on the other end of the line.

Trixie stared at the buzzing receiver for two seconds before the significance of Louis’s words sank in. Just happened? Holy cat! No time to waste.

She scrambled to her feet, snagged her coat and purse, and smacked the slumbering Finnian on the shoulder. Grab your plate case, Sleeping Beauty. We got a hot one!

***

As Sean Costigan steered the babbling manager toward the entrance of the hotel, an unmarked coupe pulled up to the curb. The blue placard in the front window indicated police business. Sure enough, Mike Devlin, a new assistant district attorney, stepped out.

As ADAs went, the young lawyer was easy to get along with. Son of a well-known defense attorney, Devlin had joined his father’s firm for a few years after graduating from law school but had recently struck out on his own in the unlikely direction of law enforcement.

Mr. Schweitzer, Sean said. Who’s this girl? Is she local?

Who is she? Who? My stars, man! Have you been living under a rock? It’s Abigail Whittaker Stewart. Whittaker Investments. Stewart Industries. American Consolidated Oil. Canadian Steel.

Uh huh. Sean pushed through a revolving door into a spacious ground floor arcade rife with gold, marble, chandeliers and potted ferns. It was the kind of joint that would serve cuts of steak the size of a postage stamp and set a cop back half a week’s salary to stay the night. Despite the crowd outside, there were few patrons lingering inside. The doormen and porters had done a swell job of keeping the hoi polloi at bay.

The day manager pulled his handkerchief. Has anyone called Mr. Cartwright?

Who’s Mr. Cartwright?

"Her uncle. She was staying in his suite. My lord! We only opened in September, and already we’ll be buried in

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