Sequence: Give a Dog a Bad Name (part seven)
He had spotted the window’s lavish draperies (there was a strong touch of Harvey, even here), and like Magda, thought to couch himself behind these…but unmusically, and careful to draw the fabric over the toes of his shoes. The window proved one of the modern types, floor-length with wide, undivided panels of glass. Rob, to anyone looking up from the alley, was as exposed at the back as he was concealed in front. He heard the conversation of two policemen leaving Harvey’s apartment, stopping just inside the open door of Durco’s. His ears, once he could detect more than his own heartbeat, picked up a snatch:
“No,” the other said, “ain’t supposed to be.” He laughed. “But we gotta check.”
Hooking a finger round the curtain’s edge, Rob saw the foyer empty. Something in the back of his mind—that fourth gin sling possibly—whispered a suggestion; before he could dismiss the idea as disastrous, he thought twice.
“Well, I did.”
“Suppose I was caught in Durco’s place…suppose I had a friend who would make sure it got in the paper?” He showed her an appealing face.
Rica made a derisive noise.
“But I mean. If someone who was just arrested in your living room got murdered, could you pretend you had nothing to do with it? Why were they questioning me about that woman?”
“Freda. Pitfield-Young-Murchison. Practice makes perfect, sonny. I see your point, though. Durco doesn’t like being put over a barrel. Is that why you were hiding on the terrace? Second thoughts again?”
“Have you ever seen Durco’s living room? It’s like a hall of mirrors.”
Rob had tiptoed to the kitchen, squinted up the passage, then halted―at the sight of a grey-suited backside easing over a bedroom threshold―by the terrace door.
“I wouldn’t bet against Bragg,” the detective was saying to an unseen colleague. “He works in about a scandal a month these days. It isn’t even news anymore. He’ll get to be a local hero.”
“What could I do? Tap him on the shoulder?”
The Daily News, rather than compete with the Herald, had chosen to exile all but the first paragraph of Oliver’s rival Burnley’s Imperial Club story to an inside page. Bold and disdainful, the editor of the News instead went international with its grabber:
Give a Dog a Bad Name
(2016, Stephanie Foster)