A hard-faced girl clad in a blue mink stole and dripping with diamonds hires Lew Archer to trace down her former maid, who she claims has stolen her jewellery. Archer can inform he is being fed a line, yet interest will get the higher of him and he accepts the case. He tracks the wayward maid to a ramshackle hotel in a seedy, run-down small city, yet reveals her useless in her tiny room, along with her throat slit from ear to ear. Archer digs deeper into the case and discovers an internet of deceit and intrigue, with crazed number-runners from Detroit, beautiful triple-crossing molls, and a golden-boy transport inheritor who’s long gone mysteriously lacking.
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In a surprising flurry of circulate, she ran around the shallow backyard of the home and up the veranda steps. I walked on. the home she had entered leaned with an absent and archaic air among a mattress-cleaning plant and a one-chair barbershop. Three-storied and weirdly gabled, it have been outfitted earlier than the discovery of California structure. Wavy brown watermarks streaked its grey body aspects. The reduce panes of the ground-floor home windows, painted white, confronted the sunlight like a blind man’s frosted glasses. Beside the double front-door there has been a reputation on a board, published in huge black letters: SAMUEL BENNING, M. D. A card above the bell-push acknowledged, in English and Spanish, Ring and input. I did. The air within the hallway used to be a skinny hospital-soup compounded of cooking odors, antiseptic, dimness. A face swam at me via it. It used to be a huge man’s face, too sharp and competitive. I shifted my toes instinctively, then observed that it used to be my very own face mirrored in murky glass, framed within the tarnished curlicues of a wall replicate. A door allow gentle in on the finish of the corridor. A dark-haired girl got here via it. She wore the grey striped uniform of a nurse’s aide, and he or she was once good-looking in a plump and violent method. Her black eyes checked out me as though they knew it. “You desire to see the health practitioner, sir? ” “If he’s in. ” “Just cross into the waiting-room, sir. he'll look after you currently. The door in your left. ” She rolled away on easily revolving hips. The waiting-room used to be unoccupied. huge and many-windowed, it had obviously been front parlor of the home. Its current caliber used to be a suffering loss of respectability, from the shredding carpet to the excessive discolored ceiling. opposed to the partitions there have been a few wicker chairs that somebody had lately brightened up with chintz. And the partitions and ground have been fresh. on the other hand, it used to be a room within which the crime of poverty had left clues. I sat down in a single of the chairs with my again to the sunshine and collected from a rickety desk. The journal was once years previous, however it served to masks my face. around the room from me, within the internal wall, there has been a closed door. After some time a tall black-haired lady donning an ill-fitting white uniform opened the door. I heard a voice that appeared like Lucy’s say anything unintelligible and emotional, numerous rooms away. the girl who had opened the door closed it sharply in the back of her and got here in the direction of me: “Do you should see the health professional? ” Her eyes have been the colour of baked blue tooth. Her good looks canceled the room. i used to be thinking about how the room had occurred to deserve her whilst she interrupted me: “Did you need to see the health practitioner? ” “Yes. ” “He’s busy now. ” “Busy for the way lengthy? I’m in a rush. ” “I couldn’t say how lengthy. ” “I’ll watch for your time. ” “Very good, sir. ” She stood with ideal calm lower than the strain of my stare, as though it have been her usual point. Her attractiveness wasn’t the sort that relied on circulate or feeling. It used to be plastic and exterior like a statue’s; even the blue eyes have been flat and depthless. Her entire face appeared as though it were frozen with novocaine.