all Weiss’s haunts I could remember: taverns, poolrooms, Turkish baths, horse rooms, and the dingy cafeterias where lone men like Sammy eat. Freedman had been most places before me. No one had seen Weiss since 3:00 A.M. last night. That made me wonder.

No one sticks to the old places like a solitary gambler down on his luck, except a sailor. To a sailor the ship is home, mother and family. To a piece of flotsam like Weiss, home is his haunts.

As a last resort I checked his room on St. Marks Place. I did not expect him to be there. He wasn’t. I stopped for a beer.

Sammy was on the run or hiding. Without money he could not run far, and he could not get money because the police would know everywhere he could hope to get it. Without money he could not hide long, either. So he had more money than I had suspected, or someone was hiding him. It let me out. If he had stabbed Radford, only a lawyer could really help him. If he hadn’t stabbed anyone, he didn’t seem to need my volunteer aid.

I went home and cooked a can of soup to warm me. I watched the snow outside the window. The tall buildings uptown were vague ghosts through the swirling flakes. I thought about Marty. I thought about going down to Philly to see her. But I would only be in her way. A girl trying to make it in her first real show doesn’t want a steady lover hanging around to scare off people.

I got my coat. I couldn’t spend the day thinking about what Marty was doing in Philadelphia. At least I could find out how bad it was for Weiss. Not from the police. They would only figure I was in touch with Weiss and sweat me. I would investigate. At least keep busy.

Maybe I was just curious. Being a detective gets to be a habit, and a murder is like a mountain-it’s there.


The apartment house on East Sixty-third Street where Jonathan Radford had lived was a massive, gingerbread gray building built in the twenties for the true rich. Its upper stories were lost in the heavy snow.

“Radford apartment,” I said to the doorman.

He was obviously under orders to keep the murder quiet. A foursome looking for a taxi appeared in the lobby. He didn’t even ask who I was.

“Apartment 17, left elevator, rear.”

It was a small, self-service elevator that served only two apartments on each floor. It delivered me to a tiny foyer for apartment 17. I rang.

The man who answered the door was tall, gray-haired, and looked something like the body in the morgue without the beard. He had a large nose, the pink face a man gets when he is habitually shaved by barbers, and a wrinkled neck he tried to hide by holding his head too high. I had a mental flash-I knew his face. How?

“Mr. Ames?” I guessed.

“Yes, I… What do you want? I’m very busy.”

He passed his hand over his face. He seemed nervous, out of focus. His suit had wide lapels and an old- fashioned cut, but looked custom-made within the year. The cuffs of his shirt came four inches out of his sleeves and were linked with rubies. The cuffs, and his high collar, were starched stiff.

“I’m a detective, Mr. Ames,” I said, not mentioning that I was private, or giving my name. Why ask for trouble from the police? “I’d like to ask some questions about the murder.”

He nodded vaguely. “The murder, yes. I… I really can’t believe he’s gone. Jonathan. Dead! That stupid animal!”

“Can I come in?” I said.

“What? Oh, yes, of course. I don’t see what…”

He trailed off. I walked into a living room as large as four of my rooms-an elegant, high-ceilinged room that had been lived in for a long and comfortable time. The furniture glowed. Most of it was from one of the French periods, but there were enough odd pieces to show that no hired decorator had laid it out.

“Now, if you’ll…”I began, trying to sound official.

Ames was staring at me. He was looking at my empty sleeve. Suspicion flickered in his eyes.

“I was under the impression that the murderer of my cousin was being pursued. The Weiss person. A matter of time.”

“The police say Weiss killed him?”

“Of course! Who else… You did say you were a detective?”

“Private,” I admitted.

“Private? You mean for hire?” He was all alert now. “Is there some factor involved that I am not aware of?”

“I’m not allowed to discuss my client, Mr. Ames,” I said, which was more or less true-if I had had a client. “Perhaps you could tell me about yesterday?”

It is amazing how much the rich, the secure, accept without bothering to question. They’re not used to being deceived, and they aren’t afraid of much. What can hurt them? Ames didn’t even ask for my credentials. All he did was show annoyance. He seemed confused by the whole affair, and I was a flea under his collar.

“What? Oh, yes, yes. What do you want?”

“Was your cousin expecting any visitors besides Weiss?”

“He wasn’t expecting anyone. He had a slight cold or he would have been at his office as usual.”

“So he made the appointment with Weiss yesterday morning?”

“I don’t know when he made it. I didn’t see him after breakfast. When Walter and I left, Jonathan was out.”

“Walter Radford lives here?”

“No, no,” Ames said testily. “Walter has his own apartment. I presume he came to talk to Jonathan. After Jonathan went out, Walter came back to my rooms and suggested we share a taxi as far as my club. He knows I always lunch at the club if I’m not working in a show.”

Then I knew where I had seen him before. “I’ve seen you on television, haven’t I? Broadway, too. I saw you play a high commissioner of a British colony. You were good.”

“Why, thank you.” He beamed now. “It’s gratifying to be recognized, although it says more for your sharp eyes than my fame. I’m not exactly in demand. TV bits, mostly. An actor has to work.”

“Rich men don’t often go in for acting.”

“The one thing in my life I am really proud of, Mr… What did you say your name was?”

He had me. If you want to stay anonymous, don’t praise a man. People always want to know who is flattering them.

“Fortune,” I said. “Dan Fortune.”

“My pride, Mr. Fortune, is that I tried to carve my own place in a hard arena. Most of our family tend to regal indolence. Not that I’m rich. Through devious twists of family history, Jonathan and his brother, Walter Senior, were the rich ones. The rest of us are not impoverished, but we are not rich. I shared this apartment with Jonathan for twenty-five years, but he owned it.”

I took the opportunity of his better humor. “Can you tell me anything more, Mr. Ames? For instance, what led the police to Weiss?”

“I found his name on Jonathan’s desk calendar.”

“Careless of him to leave his name.”

“I presume he isn’t a mental giant. Besides, it seems clear that he struck, probably, in anger. I suppose he panicked.”

It was a pretty good description of Weiss, and of the only way he might have killed a man.

“You didn’t see Jonathan again after the morning?”

“No. I came home at half-past five. When he did not appear for our cocktails at six, I went to his study. I found him on the floor in a pool of dried blood. I’m afraid I was sick. I had a drink. Then I called the police.”

“Where did he go that morning? When did he get back?”

“We learned later that he had been to lunch with Deirdre. She says they returned here at about one

Вы читаете The brass rainbow
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату