Dead and Buried

Dead and Buried by Barbara Hambly

Book: Dead and Buried by Barbara Hambly Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barbara Hambly
light on Sunday and keeping them closed until late Monday afternoon.
    Thus, in addition to having his own Sunday evening to spend with Rose, January was able to meet Abishag Shaw in the brick-paved arcade in front of the Cabildo on Sunday afternoon, after what felt like far too few hours from his parting with Hannibal in the gluey blackness of Prytania Street.
    ‘Reckon if’n your folks had any luck draggin’ the bayous, I’d’a heard.’ Shaw spat in the direction of a bullfrog, which was making its unoffending way from one of the puddles in the Place d’Armes to the grille of the newly paved-over gutter drain that had replaced the open trenches which had, for so many years, kept the square more or less dry.
    ‘Heard and reported to Captain Tremouille that he can go on saving himself the trouble of assigning his own men to search?’ On his way to the Cabildo, January had stopped by his sister Olympe’s house and had received the news that no trace of Rameses Ramilles had yet been found.
    Precisely the reason, he knew, that Patrick Derryhick’s murderer had chosen to dispose of his victim’s body in the coffin of a black man he would have seen brought into the undertaker’s yard.
    The body of a white man would demand that the wheels of the law grind into motion.
    A black man’s corpse, particularly after a week or two in the river, would draw no comment.
    ‘Captain Tremouille,’ sighed the policeman, ‘wouldn’t take the trouble to go look for his own daddy’s corpse, in between organizin’ the First Municipality vote, an’ buyin’ drinks for them foreigners as have the vote, down in Marigny.’ He removed his hat, scratched his long hair – the color of greasy onion-tops – caught whatever he was seeking there between dirty fingernails, and crushed it absently to death. ‘You want to have a word with the Foxford boy, whilst you’s here? I understand your pal Sefton put in a couple long nights oozin’ around absinthe cafés an’ whippin’ parlors, askin’ after him or Stuart—’
    ‘Foxford is still here ?’ January’s eyes widened in shock as he recollected the long, filthy, stifling room where drunkards, brawlers, pickpockets and waterfront thieves pushed and bullied among themselves for space on the bunks and floor. What the hell had the boy done during those four hours on Thursday night that he wouldn’t admit to his lawyer?
    ‘Has he talked to a lawyer?’
    ‘That business manager of his went chasin’ one in Mandeville yesterday. ‘Course, there ain’t a lawyer in this town at the moment, nor won’t be till the weather breaks . . .’
    January cursed. ‘What about Droudge?’ he asked. ‘And what about Stuart? You can’t say their activities are accounted for—’
    ‘So far as Captain Tremouille is concerned,’ Shaw replied drily, ‘Stuart’s are. A lady, name of Simone Alcidoro, come in yesterday an’ confessed all off’n her own bat as how she an’ Mr Stuart was up playing cribbage in her parlor till three in the mornin’.’
    ‘Simone Alcidoro?’ January was familiar with the name. ‘She’d swear she was playing cribbage with Robespierre’s ghost if you bought her two drinks.’
    ‘Well, maybe somebody did.’ Shaw half-turned his head as two men passed behind them, going into the Cabildo: journalists, January recognized them, from the Louisiana Gazette and the Bee . ‘For a man who spent that night playin’ cribbage in a private home, Stuart was mighty quick to come up with proof of it, but you can’t arrest a feller if you think he wasn’t playin’ cribbage with a . . . lady. I’m keepin’ a eye on the both of ’em: him an’ Droudge. It’s all I can do.’
    ‘Have you heard of a man named Blessinghurst?’
    Shaw’s gray eyes narrowed. ‘British lord? Come to town ’bout ten days ago? A tad too sharp at the poker table?’
    ‘That’s the man,’ said January. ‘He quarreled with Derryhick the night of the murder – as far as I can place

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