Authors: Mary Higgins Clark
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Table of Contents
For my grand childrenÂ .Â .Â .
Elizabeth Higgins Clark
Andrew Warren Clark
the two “Dirdrews”
With love, amusement and delight.
an earlier novel, was set in Washington, D.C. Special thanks are in order for the good friends who assisted me in my attempt to give that book an authentic Washington flavor.
Mrs. Frances Humphrey Howard, sister of the late Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey, generously shared her vast knowledge of life in the nation's capital with me. She and her network of friends were always readily available to answer my questions about everything from protocol to the inner workings of Congress.
John and Catherine Keeley assisted me in creating the Cable Network background and planning the crucial travel times and routes. William Jackman, vice-president of the Air Transport Association of America, lent his expertise to guide me in the technical aspects of a vital airline investigation.
Abiding thanks to my editor, Michael V. Korda, whose perception and understanding make it a challenge and a pleasure to embark on the long road between story concept and completed novel.
Finally, my love and gratitude to my agent, Pat Myrer, who before her retirement helped me to plan this new book and christened it with the title
Weep No More, My Lady
PAN AMERICAN FLIGHT 111 FROM ROME BEGAN TO CIRCLE on its final approach to Kennedy Airport. Elizabeth pressed her forehead against the glass, drinking in the brilliance of the sun gleaming on the ocean, the distant outline of the Manhattan skyscrapers. This was the moment she had once loved at the end of a trip, the sense of coming home. But today she passionately wanted to be able to stay on the plane, to go wherever its next destination might be.
“It's a lovely sight, isn't it?” When she'd boarded the plane, the grandmotherly-looking woman next to her had smiled pleasantly and opened her book. Elizabeth had been relieved; the last thing she'd wanted was a seven-hour conversation with a stranger. But now it was all right. They'd be landing in a few minutes. She agreed that it was a lovely sight.
“This was my third trip to Italy,” her seatmate continued. “But it's the last time I'll go in August. Tourists all over the place. And so terribly hot. What countries did you visit?”
The plane banked and began its descent. Elizabeth decided it was just as easy to give a direct answer as to be noncommittal. “I'm an actress. I was working on a film in Venice.”
“How exciting. My first impression was that you reminded me a little of Candy Bergen. You're just about as tall as she is and have the same lovely blond hair and blue-gray eyes. Should I know your name?”
“Not at all.”
There was a faint bump as the plane landed on the runway and began taxiing. To deter any more questions, Elizabeth made a business of pulling her carry-on bag from under the seat and checking its contents. If Leila were here, she thought, there wouldn't be any question about identifying
. Everyone recognized Leila LaSalle. But Leila would have been in first class, not coach.
Would have been.
After all these months, it was time the reality of her death set in.
A newsstand just beyond the Customs enclosure had stacks of the early-afternoon edition of the
She couldn't help seeing the headline: TRIAL BEGINS SEPTEMBER 8. The lead read: “A visibly angry Judge Michael Harris scathingly denied further postponements in the murder trial of multimillionaire Ted Winters.” The rest of the front page was filled with a blowup of Ted's face. There was a stunned bitterness in his eyes, a rigid set to his mouth. It was a picture snapped after he'd learned that the grand jury had indicted him for the murder of his fiancÃ©e, Leila LaSalle.
*Â Â Â *Â Â Â *
As the cab sped toward the city, Elizabeth read the storyâa rehash of the details of Leila's death and the evidence against Ted. Pictures of Leila were splashed over the next three pages of the paper: Leila at a premiere, with her first husband; Leila on safari, with her second husband; Leila with Ted; Leila accepting her Oscarâstock publicity shots. One of them caught Elizabeth's eye. In it, Leila had a hint of softness in her smile, a suggestion of vulnerability that contrasted with the arrogant tilt of her chin, the mocking expression in her eyes. Half the young girls in America had imitated that expression, copied Leila's way of tossing her hair back, of smiling over her shoulder.Â .Â .Â .
“Here we are, lady.”
Startled, Elizabeth looked up. The cab had stopped in front of the Hamilton Arms, at Fifty-seventh Street and Park Avenue. The paper slid off her lap. She forced herself to try to sound calm. “I'm so sorry. I gave you the wrong address. I want to go to Eleventh and Fifth.”
“I already turned off the meter.”
“Then start a new fare.” Her hands shook as she fumbled for her wallet. She sensed the doorman was approaching and did not raise her eyes. She did not want to be recognized. Unthinkingly she had given Leila's address. This was the building where Ted had murdered Leila. Here, in a drunken rage, he had pushed her off the terrace of her apartment.
Elizabeth began to shiver uncontrollably at the image she could not banish from her mind: Leila's beautiful body, wrapped in the white satin pajamas, her long red hair cascading behind her, plummeting forty stories to the concrete courtyard.
And always the questions.Â .Â .Â .Â Was she conscious? How much did she realize?
How awful those last seconds must have been for her!
If I had stayed with her, Elizabeth thought, it never would have happened.Â .Â .Â .
AFTER A TWO-MONTH ABSENCE, THE APARTMENT FELT close and stuffy. But as soon as she opened the windows, a breeze blew in, carrying the peculiarly satisfying combination of scents that was so specially New York: the pungent aura of the small Indian restaurant around the corner, a hint of the flowers from the terrace across the street, the acrid smell of fumes from the Fifth Avenue buses, a suggestion of sea air from the Hudson River. For a few minutes Elizabeth breathed deeply and felt herself begin to unwind. Now that she was here, it was good to be home. The job in Italy had been another escape, another temporary respite. But never out of her mind was the realization that eventually she would have to go to court, as a prosecution witness against Ted.
She unpacked quickly and placed her plants in the sink. It was clear that the superintendent's wife had not honored her promise to water them regularly. After plucking away the dead leaves, she turned to the mail that was stacked on the dining-room table. Rapidly she skimmed through it, tossing out ads and coupons, separating personal letters from bills. She smiled eagerly at the beautiful handwriting on one envelope and the precise return address in the upper corner:
Miss Dora Samuels, Cypress Point Spa, Pebble Beach, California.
Sammy. But before she read that one, Elizabeth reluctantly opened the business-size envelope with the return address OFFICE OF THE DSTRICT ATTORNEY.
The letter was brief. It was a confirmation that she would phone Assistant District Attorney William Murphy upon her return on August 29 and make an appointment to review her testimony.
Even reading the newspaper and giving Leila's address to the cabbie had not prepared her for the shock of this official notice. Her mouth went dry. The walls seemed to close in around her. The hours she had testified at the grand jury hearings flashed through her mind. The time she had
fainted on the stand after being shown the pictures of Leila's body. Oh, God, she thought, it was starting all over again.Â .Â .Â .
The phone rang. Her “Hello” was barely audible.
“Elizabeth,” a voice boomed. “How are you? You're on my mind.”
It was Min von Schreiber! Of all people! Elizabeth instantly felt wearier. Min had given Leila her first modeling job, and now she was married to an Austrian baron and owned the glamorous Cypress Point Spa in Pebble Beach, California. She was an old and dear friend; but Elizabeth didn't feel up to her today. Still, Min was one of the people Elizabeth could never say no to.
Elizabeth tried to sound cheerful. “I'm fine, Min. A little tired, maybe. I just got home a few minutes ago.”
“Don't unpack. You're coming to the Spa tomorrow morning. There's a ticket waiting at the American Airlines counter. The usual flight. Jason will pick you up at the airport in San Francisco.”
“Min, I can't.”
“As my guest.”
Elizabeth almost laughed. Leila had always said those were the three hardest words for Min to utter. “But, Minâ”
“No âbuts.' When I saw you in Venice you looked too thin. That damn trial will be hell. So come. You need rest. You need pampering.”
Elizabeth could see Min, her raven-black hair coiled around her head, always assuming in her imperious way that what she wanted was automatically granted. After more futile protests in which she listed all the reasons why she should not come, could not, she heard herself agreeing to Min's plans. “Tomorrow, then. It will be good to see you, Min.” She was smiling when she put the receiver down.
Three thousand miles away, Minna von Schreiber waited for the connection to break, then immediately began to dial another number. When she reached her party, she whispered, “You were right. It was easy. She agreed to come.
Don't forget to act surprised when you see her.”