Authors: Ed McBain
ALSO BY ED McBAIN
The 87th Precinct Novels
The Con Man
Lady Killer (1958)
Give the Boys a Great Big Hand
See Them Die
Lady, Lady, I Did It!
The Empty Hours
Ten Plus One
He Who Hesitates
Eighty Million Eyes
Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here
Sadie When She Died
Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man
Hail to the Chief
So Long As You Both Shall Live
Long Time No See
Eight Black Horses
And All Through the House
The Big Bad City
The Matthew Hope Novels
Beauty and the Beast
Jack and the Beanstalk
Snow White and Rose Red
Puss in Boots
The House That Jack Built
Three Blind Mice
There Was a Little Girl
Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear
The Last Best Hope
Where There's Smoke
Another Part of the City
AND BY EVAN HUNTER
The Blackboard Jungle
Strangers When We Meet
A Matter of Conviction
Mothers and Daughters
The Paper Dragon
A Horse's Head
Nobody Knew They Were There
Every Little Crook and Nanny
Streets of Gold
Far From the Sea
Short Story Collections
Happy New Year, Herbie
The Easter Man
Find the Feathered Serpent
The Remarkable Harry
The Wonderful Button
Me and Mr. Stenner
Strangers When We Meet
The Legend of Walks Far Woman
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Designed by Jeanette Olender
This, yet another time, is for my wifeâDRAGICA DIMITRIJEVIÄ-HUNTER
The city in these pages is imaginary. The people, the places are all fictitious. Only the police routine is based on established investigatory technique.
heart trouble,” the woman was telling Carella.
Which perhaps accounted for the tiny pinpricks of blood on the dead man's eyeballs. In cases of acute right-heart failure, you often found such hemorrhaging. The grayish-blue feet sticking out from under the edge of the blanket were another matter.
“Told me he hadn't been feeling good these past few days,” the woman was saying. “I kept telling him to go see the doctor. Yeah, I'll go, I'll go, don't worry, like that, you know? So I stopped by this morning to see how he was, found him just this way. In bed. Dead.”
“So you called the police,” Meyer said, nodding.
Because he'd expected to go out on a narcotics plant this morning, he was wearing blue jeans, a sweat shirt, and Reeboks. Instead, he'd caught this one with Carella and here he was. On a fishing expedition with a woman he felt was lying. Burly and bald, he posed his question with wide, blue-eyed innocence, just as if it did not conceal a hand grenade.
“Yes,” she said, “I called the police. That was the first thing I did.”
“Knew straight off he was dead, is that right?”
“Well â¦ yes. I could see he was dead.”
“You didn't take his pulse or anything like that, did you?” Carella asked.
Looking trimmer and fitter than he had in a long whileâhe had deliberately lost six pounds since his fortieth birthdayâhe was dressed casually this morning in dark blue trousers, a gray corduroy jacket, a plaid sports shirt, and a dark blue knit tie. He had not anticipated this particular squeal at a little past ten in the morning. In fact, he had scheduled a ten-fifteen squadroom interview with a burglary victim. Instead, here he was, talking to a woman he, too, felt was lying.
“No,” she said. “Well, yes. Well, not his pulse. But I leaned over him. To see if he was still breathing. But I could see he was dead. I mean â¦ well, look at him.”
The dead man was lying on his back, covered with a blanket, his eyes and his mouth open, his tongue protruding. Carella glanced at him again, a faint look of sorrow and pain momentarily knifing his eyes. In these moments, he felt particularly vulnerable, wondering as he often did if he was perhaps unsuited to a job that brought him into frequent contact with death.
“So you called the police,” Meyer said again.
“Yes. Told whoever answered the phone â¦”
“Was this 911 you called? Or the precinct number direct?”
“911. I don't know the precinct number. I don't live around here.”
“Told the operator you'd come into your father's apartment and found him dead, is that right?”
“What time was this, Miss?”
“A little after ten this morning. It's Mrs., by the way,” she said almost apologetically.
Carella looked at his watch. It was now twenty minutes to eleven. He wondered where the medical examiner was. Couldn't touch anything in here till the ME pronounced the victim dead. He wanted to see the rest of the body. Wanted to see if the legs matched the feet.
“Mrs. Robert Keating,” the woman said. “Well,
“And your father's name?” Meyer asked.
“Andrew. Andrew Hale.”
Better to let Meyer stay with it for now, Carella thought. He had noticed the same things Carella had, was equally familiar with the telltale signs of a hanging, which this one resembled a great deal, but you couldn't hang yourself lying flat on your back in bed with no noose around your neck.
“How old was he, can you tell us?”
“And you say he had heart trouble?”
“Two heart attacks in the past eight years.”
“No. Two angioplasties. But his condition was very grave. He almost lost his life each time.”
“And he continued having trouble, is that it?”
“Well â¦ no.”
“You said he had heart trouble.”
“Two serious heart attacks in eight years, yes, that's heart trouble. But he wasn't restricted in his activities or anything.”