New York Nocturne

New York Nocturne by Walter Satterthwait

Book: New York Nocturne by Walter Satterthwait Read Free Book Online
Authors: Walter Satterthwait
Mrs. Parker and then went to the station and purchased a ticket for the first available train.”
    I pushed aside the thought that Mr. Slocum had been too busy to purchase a ticket for the first available train, and I swallowed some more roast beef.
    â€œMeanwhile,” said Mrs. Parker, inhaling her cigarette, then exhaling smoke with her words, “back at the ranch, I was going through my list of ambulance chasers. Clarence Darrow was busy, so I called Lipkind here.” Lightly, with her left hand, she stroked the dog, which was now lying across her thighs.
    â€œDarrow’s a piker,” said Mr. Lipkind, and he stroked his luxuriant mustache.
    I took a sip of Coca-Cola. It was warm but absolutely delicious.
    â€œMr. Lipkind, Mrs. Parker, and I,” continued Miss Lizzie, “met at the Plaza Hotel for . . . well, I suppose you could call it a council of war. Mr. Lipkind has friends in the police department—”
    â€œ Friends is putting it kind of strong,” said Mr. Lipkind.
    â€œLawyers don’t have friends,” Mrs. Parker explained to me, stubbing out her cigarette. “They have torts.” She turned to Mr. Lipkind. “Or is that tarts?”
    Miss Lizzie smiled brightly at them both. “May I finish, please?”
    I had once seen her lose her temper, and she had been terrifying. Even now, with only that bright, controlled smile, she was formidable.
    â€œSorry about that,” said Mrs. Parker. “Sometimes I get carried away.” She smiled wryly. “Sometimes I think I should be.”
    Miss Lizzie looked at Mr. Lipkind.
    â€œAbsolutely,” he said. “You got it.”
    She turned back to me. “Mr. Lipkind’s acquaintances ,” she said, “were able to determine where you were being held. Mr. Lipkind knew of a judge who was able to provide the papers necessary to secure your release. Once he had them, Mr. Lipkind proceeded to police headquarters. He has done, I think, an excellent job.” She turned to him. “For which I sincerely thank him.”
    â€œHey,” said Mr. Lipkind. “It’s what I do.”
    I swallowed the last bite of sandwich and asked Miss Lizzie, “Why didn’t you come down there yourself?”
    â€œMrs. Parker suggested that, all things considered, it might be best for me to remain in the background. I believe she was right.”
    I looked at Mrs. Parker, who was bending forward, whispering to the dog. She looked up at me and again she smiled that dazzling smile.
    Miss Lizzie said to me, “Knowing something of how the police operate, I imagine that you’ve explained several thousand times what happened today. But perhaps, if you’re able, you could explain it one more time, for us.”
    â€œOkay.” I dabbed at my mouth with a paper napkin, took another sip of the Coca-Cola.
    Slowly, I explained it one more time.
    Now and then Mr. Lipkind asked questions.
    â€œDaphne Dale?” he said. “The writer?”
    Mrs. Parker’s dog was following all this closely, his small, square head turning from one speaker to the next.
    â€œThat’s what John told me,” I said. “He said she put him in her book.”
    â€œReally?” said Mrs. Parker. “ The Flesh Seekers ? He was Jerry Brandon? Well, of course he was. John Burton, Jerry Brandon.” She turned to Miss Lizzie. “She calls herself Sophie Hill in the book. Daphne doesn’t go very far for her names.” She smiled. “Just over the hill and down the dale.”
    â€œI wouldn’t know,” I said. “I haven’t read the book.”
    â€œConsider yourself lucky,” she said. “But if you want a copy, I can lend you mine. It’s propping up a bookcase in my apartment.”
    â€œOkay,” said Mr. Lipkind. “What next?”
    I continued on to El Fay.
    â€œLarry Fay,” said Mr. Lipkind. “And your uncle went off with

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