Take a handful of talented writers and a whole bunch of free and discounted books. That’s going to make Friday the 13th a lucky day…
The moment she walked into my office, I knew she was trouble. Any private eye worth his salt knows that a dame like that in a dive like this spells trouble for somebody.
She was classy, and way out of my orbit. Even the sound of silk on silk as she crossed her legs spoke of money beyond my imagination. She uncrossed those legs, leaned forward, and pulled a pack of Lucky Strikes out of her handbag. I took my cue, lighting the end of her cigarette with my brass Zippo.
Leaning back in the tatty office chair, my visitor smiled a feline smile. She smoked in silence for a moment, and it crossed my mind that she looked as out of place as an orchid in a ditch.
When she spoke, her voice was almost as wealthy as her appearance. It was smoky, and sexy, and carefully modulated.
“If a person wanted to have somebody rubbed out, where would that person go?”
“The eraser factory?”
She leaned back and blew a smoke ring. “Very funny, Mister Nero. But I asked you a serious question.”
“I’m a private investigator, not a facilitator.”
My visitor laughed, low and husky. “Very good. And I’m not asking you to facilitate a murder. I’m asking you to investigate one.”
I leaned my elbows on the desk. “Aren’t the police investigating?”
“No. Or I wouldn’t be slumming it.”
“Two questions. Who died? And why not some up-level investigator with a shiny office and an even shinier reputation?”
She stared at me before leaning forward and stubbing out her cigarette with vicious little stabs. I couldn’t help noticing the perfection of her manicure and mentally pricing the job at more than what I earned in a month.
“Not so stupid, then.” Her voice lost some of its melody and grated a little on the ear. “I came to you because I heard you were honest, and maybe not afraid of getting your hands dirty. And who died? Lefty Galento. My father.”
It was my turn to stare. Then I spoke in carefully neutral tones. “Lefty died of natural causes.”