again. “She… I must go to her. She must be hysterical.” He started struggling to his feet.

“‘There’s no need. Mrs. Blackwell is being attended to.”

“By whom?” he asked indignantly.

“By a midwife.”

Potter sank back on the sofa. “Oh, dear.” He mopped his face again. “How is she doing?”

“I’m sure she’s fine. Now, what can you tell me about this Dr. Blackwell?”

“What do you mean? Don’t you know who he is?”

“I know he’s some kind of phony doctor.”

Potter was incensed. “He’s a great healer!

“He was a healer. Now he’s just dead. What I need to know is who might have killed him.”

“Killed?” Potter echoed incredulously.

“You did notice he was dead, didn’t you?”

“Yes, but…”

“But what?”

“I just didn’t… You think someone murdered him?”

“Would he have had a reason to kill himself?” Frank asked with interest.

Potter seemed surprised. “Well, I… I’m sure I don’t know how to answer a question like that.”

“You’re Blackwell’s assistant, you said.”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“What exactly do you assist him with?”

Potter seemed taken aback by the change of subject. “I… I assisted him in his cures. And I plan his schedule and make his bookings and manage his lectures.”


“Yes, Dr. Blackwell gives… gave lectures to explain his method of healing. Many prominent citizens attend them. Many prominent citizens were his patients. He was very successful.”

“Did he have any patients that he couldn’t help? Someone who might be angry enough to murder him?”

“No! Certainly not! I can’t believe you think anyone would take Edmund’s life! Besides, I thought…”

“What did you think?”

Potter applied his handkerchief to his forehead again. “I saw the gun on the desk. It looked like…”

“Like he’d shot himself?” Frank supplied.

Potter swallowed. “Yes.”

“I’m sure that’s what the killer wanted people to think, but I believe Blackwell was murdered.”

“By whom?” Potter’s voice was hoarse.

“That’s my job, to find out. I was hoping you could give me some ideas, since you knew Blackwell so well.”

Potter blinked a few times as he considered Frank’s proposal. “I… I really don’t…”

“The servants said he had a meeting with someone this afternoon. Do you know who it was?”

Potter seemed to be thinking, trying to figure something out. Frank waited. Some of his most valuable time was spent waiting for people to decide to tell him something.

“I… there was someone…” Potter began tentatively.

“Someone he was going to meet this afternoon?”

“I’m sure I don’t know about that,” Potter insisted, “but there was something, something that happened just last week…”

Frank took a seat in the chair opposite Potter. “Tell me all about it.”

“Well, it’s a rather ugly story. It does Dr. Blackwell no credit, and it’s… Well, it could hurt Mrs. Blackwell.”

“Would it give Mrs. Blackwell a reason to kill her husband?”

Potter’s small eyes widened as he considered this apparently unthinkable possibility. “Good heavens, no! She knows nothing about it!” Potter’s face had grown a dangerous shade of red again.

“Who does, then?”

“Well, I knew,” he reluctantly admitted. “Edmund confided in me, because he needed my counsel.”

“Why don’t you confide in me, then. Let’s see if we can figure out who might have killed Dr. Blackwell.”

Potter glanced at the door, as if he suspected someone might be listening. “It’s quite a scandal, or it could be if anyone-”

“Potter,” Frank warned in the tone he used to reduce hardened criminals to quivering terror.

Potter gulped audibly. “Well, you see, Dr. Blackwell… That is, a young man came to see him last week. A young man who had come all the way from Virginia.”

“Who was he?”

“He was… is Dr. Blackwell’s son.”

“Blackwell had a son in Virginia?”

“Yes, he… from his first marriage.”

Frank nodded, believing he understood. “Blackwell thought the scandal of his divorce would ruin him?”

Potter shook his head. “Oh, no, it wasn’t that. He… he was not divorced at all. He is… was still married to the boy’s mother.”

Finally, Frank was beginning to really understand. “And the lady who discovered his body today?” he prodded.

“Was not legally married to Edmund,” Potter said softly. “Naturally, he wanted to protect her and their… their unborn child. He was going to meet with the boy today in an attempt to ward off any scandal. He had withdrawn a sum of money to give him in exchange for… for his silence.”

“Would Blackwell have had the money here with him?”

Potter had to consider this. “I suppose he would if he intended to give it to the boy.”

“We didn’t find any money,” Frank said, although he knew that if the killer hadn’t taken it, one of the servants or even the beat cop Patrick might’ve done so when nobody was looking. It wouldn’t be the first time a cop had helped himself in a situation like this.

“Then that proves the boy was here, doesn’t it?” Potter asked. “Which means he must be the killer.”

Malloy didn’t bother to answer since there were so many other possibilities. “Do you think the boy would have accepted the money in exchange for his silence?”

Potter mopped his forehead again. “No, I don’t. He was very angry and bitter over the way Edmund had abandoned him and his mother. If you’re looking for someone who wanted Edmund dead, I think you should look for this boy.”

“What’s the boy’s name?” Frank asked, pulling out his small notebook and a pencil.

“Uh, his name is Calvin Brown.”

Frank looked up in surprise. “You said he was Blackwell’s son.”

“He is, of course. Dr. Blackwell changed his name when… Well, his name originally was Edward Brown.”

“I see.” Frank did see. Blackwell had changed his name either to escape ties to his family and whatever else he’d left behind when he left Virginia, or else to give himself a more dignified name, most likely both. “Do you have any idea where I might find this Calvin Brown?”

Potter studied Frank for a moment, as if trying to decide something. Then he said, “I’m afraid not. I’d suggest a cheap lodging house, for a start. Locating him won’t be an easy task, I’m sure, but perhaps if I told you that I am offering a five-hundred-dollar reward for finding Edmund’s killer, it might increase your level of enthusiasm for the task.”

Frank thought about the surgeon that Sarah Brandt had recommended to him, the man who might be able to cure his son’s crippled foot. Five hundred dollars would go a long way toward pay for the surgery. “I’ll do my best, Mr. Potter.”


Вы читаете Murder On GramercyPark
Добавить отзыв


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

Отметить Добавить цитату