Front Page Affair

Front Page Affair by Radha Vatsal Page A

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Authors: Radha Vatsal
then point fingers if necessary.
    â€œI leave it in your hands,” the secretary replied. “But I would appreciate it if you didn’t mention to anyone that you heard this information through me.”
    Kitty sighed. He looked so anxious, and Mrs. Basshor probably would be furious if she found out. “I won’t tell anyone about our conversation, but what I do with what I learn is my decision.”
    â€œThat’s all I can ask.” He seemed relieved to have transferred the burden and shook Kitty’s hand. “Thank you, Miss Weeks.”
    Kitty watched him leave. So devoted to Mrs. Basshor, and yet he wasn’t without his own scruples and, perhaps, grudges.
    She waited for the elevator to the sixth floor. If Hotchkiss was correct and Mrs. Cole had indeed been absent for some time during the fireworks, Mr. Flanagan ought to be informed. The tidbit might offset her news that the Dr. Albert lead hadn’t amounted to much.
    She tapped on the glass partition and mouthed Flanagan’s name, but a tall, scholarly man emerged in response to her summons.
    â€œMiss Weeks?” He looked down at her from his rimless, President-Wilson-style pince-nez. “I’m Rathbone, Mr. Flanagan’s colleague. He’s asked me to give you a message.”
    â€œIs he out?”
    â€œHe’s up in Connecticut with the police. It seems that the Cole case is about wrapped up. He says to tell you that they’re hot on the killer’s trail and should have him in custody by this evening.”

Chapter Eleven
    â€œI beg your pardon?” The revelation transported Kitty to a moment in the misty past, when her native ayah had taken her to prayer hall in the mountains. Kitty had been absorbed in the rich orange of the monks’ robes, their strange droning chants, the golden statues draped with silky white scarves. She hadn’t noticed her father barge in until he’d grabbed her wrist.
    â€œYou have to remember who you are,” he’d said through gritted teeth. Seven-year-old Kitty had been terrified; she’d never seen him look so grim. It wasn’t long after that that he packed her off to Switzerland, and Kitty never saw the ayah again. She had promised herself that she would never make the same mistake: she would never believe that she was part of something, or that she belonged somewhere, when she didn’t.
    The problem was, her hopes got the best of her sometimes, and judging from the stab of pain she felt in response to Mr. Rathbone’s abrupt announcement, she realized that she had forgotten her childhood vow and had imagined herself to be more central than she really was to Mr. Flanagan’s investigations.
    â€œOne of the stable hands did it.” Rathbone twirled a pencil between his fingers.
    â€œA stable hand? Why? Why would a stable hand want to shoot Mr. Cole?”
    Mr. Flanagan’s associate shrugged his shoulders. “Calm down, Miss Weeks. I’m not conversant with the details, but I believe it has something to do with the fellow being Cole’s acquaintance from the racetrack. He was dismissed from his job there because of some wrongdoing and only found employment at the country club by providing a false name. Mr. Cole recognized him… Really, it’s best you wait until tomorrow. There will be a full account in the papers, and you can read all about it.”
    Kitty shook with anger. How dare he? How dare he treat her like another member of the news-hungry public?
    â€œIt’s all I can tell you.” His tone was dry as he returned to the newsroom.
    But she wasn’t a little girl anymore, Kitty thought as she made her way downstairs. And she no longer had to accept others’ valuation of her place in the world and what she should or shouldn’t do as a result of it.
    â€¢ • •
    Kitty collected her things and hailed a cab to take her home. She had gone less than half a block before she changed her

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