Death of an Angel

Death of an Angel by Frances Lockridge

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Authors: Frances Lockridge
that have money. I suppose—but that would be a dreadful thing to say, wouldn’t it?”
    â€œThat Mr. Latham was counting on his sister’s marrying a very rich man? Was disappointed enough to kill because of that?”
    â€œI told you it was wrong,” she said. “It was just—something happened to my mind.”
    â€œSo far as you know, Mr. Fitch hadn’t—” He hesitated. “Miss Latham isn’t expecting a child by him?”
    She straightened at that, opened her large eyes very wide.
    â€œPeople like that?” she said. “But really, captain! That sort of thing doesn’t happen to them.”
    Only to poor little working girls, her tone implied.
    The others—what did she think? That they knew too much? The files of almost any adoption agency, if she could look at them—which she could not—would tell her a different story.
    â€œSo far as you know, Mr. Fitch hasn’t left her money? As—as a sort of compensation?”
    â€œWhy,” she said, “he wouldn’t have done that . That would be—such a crude thing to do.”
    â€œYes,” Bill said. “Very crude, Miss Shaw. You know Mr. Latham, Jr.? His sister?”
    She had met Arnold Latham once or twice, before she and Fitch had—made up their minds. Peggy Latham, she thought, only once. “A blond girl, quite tall. The kind who plays golf.”
    â€œDid Mr. Latham seem to be a violent person?”
    â€œNo. I told you it was all—that it wasn’t right. You made me tell you about it.”
    â€œYes,” Bill said. “I did. When you were formulating this theory, Miss Shaw. Didn’t it occur to you that, if Mr. Latham was going to kill anyone, it wouldn’t be Mr. Fitch?”
    She looked at him. She appeared to be puzzled.
    â€œI don’t—” she said, and then shook her head. The heavy, dark brown hair swayed with her head’s movement.
    â€œYou,” Bill said. “If anyone. That’s obvious, isn’t it? On the assumption that, with you out of the way, his sister would be back in the money? Literally, in the money?”
    â€œI didn’t—” she said. “What a—a frightening—”
    â€œMiss Shaw,” Bill Weigand said, “why did you ask me to come here?”
    She had an expressive face—for all its dainty beauty, a very expressive face. They had told Mary Shaftlich that, years ago, when she was taking elocution at Northeast High School. Her face was, now, extremely expressive. Words were unnecessary. She’s really good, Bill Weigand thought. But it’s true she’s better when someone else writes the words.
    â€œYou didn’t ask me to come here to tell me this,” Bill said. “You were frightened when you called—frightened and entirely wide awake. Not because of this—this nebulous theory. This—”
    â€œI don’t understand,” she said. “It’s all true. About Mr. Latham. His sister. It’s—”
    â€œRight,” Bill said. “Say it’s all true. Or—say there’s truth in it. Why did you want me here?”
    â€œBecause—”
    â€œWhat happened between the time you called me and the time you came to the door and let me in? To make you give this very excellent—performance?”
    â€œI don’t perform,” she said. “I’m an actress . Anyway—”
    A man laughed. The laughter was brief, it was heavy, it was more derisive than amused. Bill Weigand whirled in his chair; his right hand made an instinctive movement toward the revolver which New York policemen are required to carry at all times. Bill saw the man’s legs, first, as the man came down the narrow flight of stairs in the corner of the long room. Then he saw the man—a man of medium height, a rather stocky man. The man’s hands were in full view.
    The man reached the foot of the staircase

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