Wake Up to Murder

Free Wake Up to Murder by Day Keene

Book: Wake Up to Murder by Day Keene Read Free Book Online
Authors: Day Keene
there. Get me a ham sandwich. Tell Pearl Mantinover that her appeal has been denied.
    He said:
‘Put that guy out of circulation, Tony. Get that troublemaker. Close that yokel’s mouth.’
    And Mantin did.
    Still, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. He’d had human feelings, a lot of them. The longer I looked at his face, looking under that mask that years had stamped on the face he’d been born with, the more he looked like Pearl Mantinover, I decided he was Pearl’s brother, an older brother. And he’d probably been a pretty good Joe to start with. Until life had gotten in his way. He’d still had a heart — for his own. Whatever Pearl had been to him, he’d been willing to lay ten thousand dollars on the line to save her.
    ‘And there’s more if you need it, Jim. As much again.’
    It was a funny feeling. I felt like I’d failed the guy. Mantin had liked me, too. Now he was dead. His stock in trade had caught up with him.
    It was fairly obvious what had happened. When he’d talked to me on the phone, Mantin had been under the false impression that I’d discussed the matter with Kendall and Kendall had advised me to give him back his money and play ball with the local boys. By-passing me for the time being, Mantin had gone directly to Kendall. They’d argued. And Mr. Kendall had killed him. In self-defense. Because he had a guilty conscience. Because he’d thrown Pearl to the wolves.
    I walked back through the powder room into the bathroom and through the bathroom into the dressing room, then into the room of mirrors.
    The room sickened me more than it had the first time. The police would see it now. Reporters would come with the police. The reporters would play the room up — big. They’d spread it all over the front page of both the morning and the evening newspapers. And a lot of so-called respectable married women, who wouldn’t say ‘spit’ in public, would walk through the next few weeks with their fingers crossed, until they were certain
they
were in the clear.
    On impulse, I ripped Lou’s picture off the wall, tore it into little pieces and flushed the pieces into the septic tank. It didn’t belong in the company it was. Lou was like Tony Mantin. In her heart, she was good. Only her body was bad.
    My reflections walked across the floor with me. A dozen hands helped me open the door into the hall. I called, “Mr. Kendall.”
    There wasn’t even an echo. I thought of a new angle. It could be Mantin had killed Mr. Kendall before he’d sat down in the red chair to die. It could be I was calling a dead man. I crossed the hall and searched the rooms on the other side. None of them looked disturbed. Kendall wasn’t in any of them. I slipped a screen from a sunroom on the north-west corner of the architectural monstrosity and looked out and down.
    May was still standing by the car, one small white hand on the open door of the Ford.
    “May,” I called.
    Her face white in the moonlight, she looked up at me. “Oh, thank God,” she said. “I’ve been so frightened. What took you so long, Jim?”
    “I can’t find Kendall,” I said. “But Mantin’s in the front room, dead.”
    “Dead?” May gasped. “Dead?”
    “Shot through the chest.”
    “Who killed him?”
    I said, “I don’t know. But this being Kendall’s house, I imagine Kendall killed him.”
    “Come down,” May said. “Please. Let’s go home.” I shook my head at her. “We can’t. I’ve got to call the police.”
    “Why?”
    I told her. “I didn’t know I was going to find a dead man. And my fingerprints are on everything I’ve touched. Both doorbells. The screen door. The front rail. Doorknobs all over the joint. Even on the gun beside the body. If I run now, Kendall can blame Mantin’s death on me. And he’s just rat enough to do it.”
    “I’m coming up there,” May said.
    She disappeared under the overhang. I walked back the wide middle hall toward the front of the house. I could see now why I

Similar Books

Covert Reich

A. K. Alexander

Foxe Hunt

Haley Walsh

Lunamae

April Sadowski

Three to Get Deadly

Janet Evanovich

The Repeat Year

Andrea Lochen