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MURDER ON

FIFTH AVENUE

Crime titles by Victoria Thompson

MURDER ON ASTOR PLACE

MURDER ON ST. MARK’S PLACE

MURDER ON GRAMERCY PARK

MURDER ON WASHINGTON SQUARE

MURDER ON MULBERRY BEND

MURDER ON MARBLE ROW

MURDER ON LENOX HILL

MURDER IN LITTLE ITALY

MURDER IN CHINATOWN

MURDER ON BANK STREET

MURDER ON WAVERLY PLACE

MURDER ON LEXINGTON AVENUE

MURDER ON SISTERS’ ROW

MURDER ON FIFTH AVENUE

MURDER ON

FIFTH AVENUE

A Gaslight Mystery

Victoria Thompson

1

“DETECTIVE SERGEANT MALLOY?”

Frank hated answering stupid questions from goo-goos when he was in the middle of an investigation. He looked up from interviewing one of the employees of the warehouse that had been robbed last night. This brand- new police officer didn’t even look old enough to shave. “What?”

“I have a message for you from the chief.” The way he was puffing, he must’ve run all the way from Police Headquarters to deliver it.

“Which chief?”

“Chief O’Brien.”

Frank straightened. He didn’t dare ignore a message from the chief of detectives. The young man held out a piece of paper, and Frank snatched it from him. Unfolding it, he read the message. Felix Decker requests your presence at the Knickerbocker Club immediately. O’Brien had given the address and signed it.

Frank swore. Felix Decker might not be the richest, most powerful man in the city, but he was rich and powerful enough, and he knew all the men who were richer and more powerful than he was. He also knew the chief of detectives, the chief of police, and the mayor. Most of all, he knew Frank. And Frank knew Felix Decker’s daughter, Sarah Brandt, which was the real reason Decker knew Frank would jump when Decker called.

“What am I supposed to do about this?” Frank gestured to include the warehouse where he’d spent most of the day investigating the robbery.

“The chief said he’d send somebody else to take over.”

Of course he would. He’d send another detective who would gladly take over and get the reward for solving this case. As soon as Frank had located the thieves and negotiated with them, he would have split the reward with them and returned the merchandise. That’s how business was done in New York City, and everybody knew it. Another detective would be more than happy to take over his case.

Frank swore again.

FRANK HUNKERED INSIDE HIS OVERCOAT AGAINST WINTER’S late afternoon chill as he stopped on the sidewalk outside the Knickerbocker Club to catch his breath. The trip from the riverfront warehouse uptown involved more walking than Frank normally liked to do, but the jam of wagons in the city streets made it by far the fastest mode of crosstown transportation. Then he had boarded the Sixth Avenue Elevated Train, the only truly fast mode of transportation in the city, squeezing into a packed car for the trip uptown. Another brisk walk over to Fifth Avenue, and here he was.

New York had hundreds of men’s clubs, few more exclusive than the Knickerbocker. Micks need not apply, nor much of anyone else, as far as he knew. Except for a few of the Jewish upper crust, membership was restricted to descendants of the original Dutch and English settlers of the city. Knickerbockers. Some said the nickname Knickerbocker came from the knee-length pants the early colonists wore. Others said from a story by Washington Irving. What did he care? Even though they allowed Jews to belong, he’d bet a year’s pay no Irish Catholic had ever crossed the threshold.

So why in God’s name had Decker set their meeting here and not at his office? Unfortunately, the only way to find out was to go inside.

He climbed the front steps and gave the imposing brass knocker a serious thump. The door swung wide, and

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