Script retelling of Raymond Chandlers novel

Crime Noir: Farewell My Lovely
An interactive abridged script retelling of Raymond Chandlers novel.

Private Investigator Philip Marlowe
Lieutenant. Nulty (Good but tired cop)
Lieutenant. Carl Randall (Better cop)
Moose Malloy (Giant man, parolee for bank robbery, in love with shady nightclub singer Velma)
Mrs. Jessie Florian (Old woman living in poverty and squalor, knows some good secrets)
Lindsay Marriott (Upper class pansy with hopes of stardom but messing with dangerous people)
Jules Amthor (Rich Psychic to the stars who also teaches people elocution.
Dr. Sonderborg (Dodgy doctor running a rehab clinic
Mr. Lewin Lockridge Grayle (Rich but ill, old man who loves his beautiful, young wife)
Mrs. Lewin Lockridge (Helen) Grayle (His beautiful young wife with secrets)
Velma Valento (A sleazy nightclub singer wholl do anything to get by)
Laird Brunette (Scary mobster)
Anne Riordan (Good woman: daughter of a cop, weakness for flawed men)

The story

First, lets set the mood first with some smoky jazz
Start Jazz clip:


Youre a private eye its 1930 Los Angeles, the city smelled of cigarettes, unwashed clothes, day old bootleg liquor and desperation. Times were tough and you needed a stiff drink. Your name is Phillip Marlowe youre an ex-cop not dirty just cant tame your tongue and you spoke out of turn one too many times. Now you eke out a single mans life as a private eye investigating crime and after the war and stock market crash and the Great Depression well you havent been out of work.
On this day, you were walking downtown in LA when out of the corner of your eye you spotted a hulking figure in a too small doorway. Curiosity held you. You entered the dinge bar racism was rife, and segregation was normal the white has their bars, and this was a Negro bar but it had once been something else It was dark in there. It was quiet. From up above came vague sounds of humanity, but we were alone on the stairs.
A hand [you] could have sat in came out of the dimness and took hold of [your] shoulder and squashed it to a pulp The large face looked at [you].
The hulking figure told you that this was once a white bar and purred softly, like four tigers after dinner. “Velma used to work here. Little Velma I ain’t seen her in eight years.
You sighed knowing you werent wearing a gun; this was going to be another mess you would unknowingly walk in on.
“I ain’t seen Velma in eight years,” he said in his deep sad voice. “Eight long years since I said goodbye. She ain’t wrote to me in six. But she’ll have a reason. She used to work here. Cute she was. Let’s you and me go on up, huh?”
Not like you really had a choice.
As you were pushed into the dimly light room the chatter and noise died. Silence enveloped you, along with every pair of eyes. Eyes looked at [you], chestnut colored eyes, set in faces that ranged from gray to deep black. Heads turned slowly and the eyes in them glistened and stared in the dead alien silence of another race.
A man with pink garters on his shirt sleeves and pink and white suspenders crossing his broad back began facing you and the hulking figure. You know instantly that this is the bouncer. Its written all over him.
He had a battered face that looked as if it had been hit by everything but the bucket of a dragline. It was scarred, flattened, thickened, checkered, and welted. It was a face that had nothing to fear. Everything had been done to it that anybody could think of.
No white folks, he muttered, nose to nose with you. The smile he wore tells you he was ready for a challenge.
“Where’s Velma at?” he asked the bouncer.
“Velma you says? No Velma heah, brother. No hooch, no gals, no nothing. Jes’ the scram, white boy, jes’ the scram.”
“Velma used to work here,” the big man said. He was a criminal of some kind but now he was in his own dreamland imagining this lost love.
You can see the bouncer isnt moved by this man and inch away slowly. Cautious of could come.
When the bouncer lays hands on the big man shirt, holding it. Then the sudden jablike a jerk of the elbowhits the bouncer knocking him out cold. He topples over into the crowd on rushing feet.
The sound of the customers leaving in twos and threes alerts the staff to the bigger problem. You sigh finding yourself at the bar.
Taking a newly vacated seat you feel the hulking figure come up behind you.
Whiskey sour,” the big man said. “Call yours.”
“Whiskey sour,” [you say].
We had whiskey sours. The barman wisely gave up some of the information. He knew a Velma he said, but she didnt come around here not for a long while. Wisely choosing his life over others the barman pointed out the back office where his boss was.
Wondering if you can get out of this situation now the bar was deserted but your capture insistence that he needs support keeps you where you sit and his reputation.
This hulking man was Moose Malloy. The man who did the Greater Bend Bank job solo. A bank robber. Worth a small forty grand when someone like Moose Malloy gives you a sharp look you stay put. He crossed the room slowly, light-footed, without a care in the world.
You stayed at the bar watching. You look towards the barman commenting that your day hasnt exactly gone to plans.
The barman said slowly: “I thought you was with him.”
“[you] couldn’t help [yourself]. He asked [you] a question down below and then dragged [you] up. [youve] never [seen] him before What you got down there?”
“Got me a sawed-off,” the barman said.
“Tsk. That’s illegal,” [you] whispered. “Listen, you and I are together. Got anything else?”
He tells you about the small handgun in the cigar box in case things get interesting. Then there is a gunshot.

As Moose reemerges bloody and with a newly acquired gun in his hand, he tells you that the owner hadnt been much help, but hes got a lead. He started towards the stairs, and you let him leave you in the mess of bodies, blood and wishful oblivion.
An Officer Nulty picked up the case a lean-jawed sourpuss with long yellow hands which he kept folded over his kneecaps most of the time he talked to me. He was a detective-lieutenant attached to the 77th Street Division
You told him the events of the last few hours as Moose Malloys so-called backup. He didnt seem amused or interested in the situation he truthfully didn’t look like a man who could deal with Moose Malloy.
When he comments about your lack of aid to either side, you know this is going nowhere fast. Saying nothing you drop your card onto the table. He picks it up looking down then throws it back down in disgust.
“Philip Marlowe, Private Investigator. One of those guys, huh? Jesus, you look tough enough. What was you doing all that time?”
“All what time?”
“All the time this Malloy was twisting the neck of this smoke.”
“Oh, that happened in another room,”
Its not your job to stop madman. Nor would you put yourself into harms way for someone you dont even know. You roll a cigarette between two fingers staring into Nultys face. Youve told him your last case which brought you to that side of town. Now youve told him about Malloys need to find this dame youve done enough for the cops.
Getting up to leave you think back on the name Malloy muttered on his way outMike Florianand a little pay-by-the-hour motel just a couple blocks from the station.
Maybe you should just have a peek?
The man behind the desk of the shabby motel told you of a big guy who came in just a few hours before lookin for Florian too. So Malloys been and gone.
With a few dollars on the table he offered up a few little crumbs:
Florian was dead and buried
Jessie Florian, the Widow, lived at 1644 West 54th Place
A little liquid courage might make Mrs Florian a little kinder

As you nodded in thanks the mans eyes drifted shut and he was out cold. What it must be like to sleep so easily you think.
PAUSE. Time to do the Rigorous Read on Jessie Florian.
You went to see Detective Nulty hes got intel for you: cops have matched Malloys mug shot to a sighting downtown. Theyre going to pick him up soon. You share your intel too you tell him how old widow Jessie Florian claimed not to know Velma, but she had a suspiciously new expensive radio in her house. And how she squawked when you found the photo. But she claimed Velma was dead. You left and Nulty brooded over the cops ability to arrest Moose.
You were back in your office when a call came in from a posh sounding character with a voice that grew icicles Mr Lindsay Marriott of Montemar Vista. He wants to hire you for a job. Tonight.
Meantime, Detective Nulty called back with more intel Moose went to see old Jessie Florian. Nulty wanted you to go back and get the story out of Florian.
I dont have time to stooge for you or any other cop You almost yelled in frustration.
Okay, get sore, Nulty said and hung up.
Seventeen hundred and fifty cops in this town and they want me to do their leg work for them. You snarled.
You arrived at Mr Lindsay Marriots upscale apartment that night. Hes in a white flannel suit with blond combed hair and a violet scarf around his neck hes upper class or at least pretending to be.
He told you he was meeting with men that night in a lonely place and wanted an armed bodyguard.
He spins you a story his friends expensive Fei Tsui jade necklace had been stolen a few nights ago when their car was held up they robbed her of the necklace but promised to call with a ransom for the jewels. Tonight, he wants to a bodyguard while he hands over $8000 for the jewels. You are suspicious that the thieves will just knock him out and take his money you hatch a plan to swap places during the drop off.

That night you drove to the drop off point, Purisima Canyon with Marriot and $8000 large. A fools job.
The headlights sprayed for an instant on a street sign that read: Camino de la Costa. We slid down a broad avenue lined with unfinished electroliers and weed-grown sidewalks. Some realtors dream had turned into a hangover there. Crickets chirped and bullfrogs whooped in the darkness behind the overgrown sidewalks
You stood out in the darkness waiting for the switch while Marriott hid in the back of the car.
You never saw them coming.
Whoever it was had a nice easy shot at the back of my head. Afterwards I thought I might have heard the swish of a sap. Maybe you always think thatafterwards
You woke up in the dirt with blood down your face, and a headache but hey, they did leave you your gun.
That was a nice touch. They left me my gun. A nice touch of something or otherlike closing a man’s eyes after you knife him. You stumbled around and found Marriotts car untouched. But no Marriott. Where was he?
Then a sharp womans voice ordered you to stand up and identify yourself.
“Marlowe. Philip Marlowe. An investigator. Private.”
The woman in the darkness told you the bad news. Marriott has been murdered.
“He’s dead all right. With his brains on his face. The story, mister. Make it fast.”
She showed you the body. The money was gone.
(Marriott) lay smeared to the ground, on his back, at the base of a bush, in that bag-of-clothes position that always means the same thing. His face was a face I had never seen before. His hair was dark with blood, the beautiful blond ledges were tangled with blood and some thick grayish ooze, like primeval slime.
The girl behind me breathed hard, but she didn’t speak. I held the light on his face. He had been beaten to a pulp. One of his hands was flung out in a frozen gesture, the fingers curled. His overcoat was half twisted under him, as though he had rolled as he fell. His legs were crossed. There was a trickle as black as dirty oil at the corner of his mouth.
You rifled through his pockets and found a masculine cigarette case and feminine one with a dragon on it and strange marijuana cigarettes inside. You and the mysterious woman leave the body and go into the light. Shes got red hair and introduces herself as Anne Riordan a grown woman whose father used to be a cop himself. She was walking by when she saw a commotion and couldnt help investigating.
Your first impression was good.
I liked the cool quiet of her voice. I liked her nerve. We stood in the darkness, face to face, not saying anything for a moment. I could see the brush and light in the sky.
I put the light on her face, and she blinked. It was a small neat vibrant face with large eyes. A face with bone under the skin, fine drawn like a Cremona violin. A very nice face.
She offered to help you report the incident to the police, but you told her youre a lone wolf who worked alone. She shrugged and gave you her details anyway.

You notified authorities. Central Homicide Lieutenant Randall was distant and suspicious.
Randall leaned forward and stared at me carefully. “If you’re holding anything back with the idea of working on this case yourself to make yourself a little publicity, I’d forget it, Marlowe. I don’t like all the points in your story and I’m going to give you the night to think it over. Tomorrow I’ll probably ask you for a sworn statement. In the meantime, let me give you a tip. This is a murder and a police job, and we wouldn’t want your help, even if it was good. All we want from you is facts. Get me?
“That’s all,” he said. “And keep your nose clean.”
You left and passed out at home with your headache for company.

Nulty called with news: A big target had been arrested and was in the icebox after a difficult arrest. But its not Moose. Hes salty about it and asks for your help but you fobbed him off.
In your office, Anne Riordan was waiting, dressed smartly with a har on her auburn hair.
She was about twenty-eight years old. She had a rather narrow forehead of more height than is considered elegant. Her nose was small and inquisitive, her upper lip a shade too long and her mouth more than a shade too wide. Her eyes were gray blue with flecks of gold in them. She had a nice smile. She looked as if she had slept well. It was a nice face, a face you get to like. Pretty, but not so pretty that you would have to wear brass knuckles every time you took it out.
She told you her back story: “I know I’m just a damned inquisitive wench. But there’s a strain of bloodhound in me. My father was a cop. His name was Cliff Riordan and he was police chief of Bay City for seven years. I suppose that’s what’s the matter.”
“I seem to remember, You say. What happened to him?”
“He was fired. It broke his heart. A mob of gamblers headed by a man named Laird Brunette elected themselves a mayor. So, they put Dad in charge of the Bureau of Records and Identification, which in Bay City is about the size of a teabag. So, Dad quit and pottered around for a couple of years and then died. And Mother died soon after him. So, I’ve been alone for two years.”
She also had news. Big news.
The jade necklace belonged to Mrs Lewin Lockridge Grayle Helen Grayle for short. A real hot blonde society dame. Maybe 30 years old.
Her husband is an investment banker or something, enormously rich, worth about twenty million. He used to own a radio station in Beverly Hills, Station KFDK, and Mrs. Grayle used to work there. He married her five years ago. She’s a ravishing blonde. Mr. Grayle is elderly, liverish, stays home and takes calomel while Mrs. Grayle goes places and has a good time.”
She shocked you with her next comment she had set up a meeting for you with Mrs Grayle that afternoon at 2pm.
Shed also stolen the laced Russian cigarettes from the crime scene and gave them to you. You slit one open and inside found a secret. A mans calling card: Jules Amthor: Psychic Consultant and a telephone number.
[ 15-16- 17]
You called the psychic. He wanted to see you at 6pm. You did some side investigating and found out Lindsay Marriott owned the plot of land Jessie Florians house was on. How the heck were these two cases connected you wondered? You shake down Mrs Florian she revealed she used to work for the Marriotts as a cleaner and he helped her with the house and some occasional money. She pulled a gun on you and you left in a hurry.
You visited Nulty the trail on Moose Malloy has gone cold. They think he lammed ran off to Mexico. You shrug off his disappearance another unsolved murder in seedy LA.
“Well, all he did was kill a Negro,” I said. “I guess that’s only a misdemeanor.” You said.
You arrived at the Grayle Mansion Anne Riordan was also there having tea, old Mr Grayle doddered around and Mrs Grayle was a panther in a dress. And she looked hungry.
She had a full set of curves which nobody had been able to improve on. The dress was rather plain except for a clasp of diamonds at the throat. Her hands were not small, but they had shape, and the nails were the usual jarring notealmost magenta. She was giving me one of her smiles. She looked as if she smiled easily, but her eyes had a still look, as if they thought slowly and carefully. And her mouth was sensual.
She got you talking you revealed you were an ex-cop who once worked for the District Attorney but got fired for talking back. Anne left and Mrs Grayle dismissed her husband. Suddenly you were all alone. She pulled the moves on you.
“You’d better sit over here beside me.” She said.
“I’ve been thinking that a long time,” you said. “Ever since you crossed your legs, to be exact.”
She pulled her dress down. “These damn things are always up around your neck.”[Pg 219]
I sat beside her on the yellow leather chesterfield. “Aren’t you a pretty fast worker?” she asked quietly.
You didn’t answer her.
“Do you do much of this sort of thing?” she asked with a sidelong look.
“Practically none. I’m a Tibetan monk, in my spare time.”
“Only you don’t have any spare time, she quips.
She then drops a bombshell: Lindsay Marriott was once a radio announcer at the station Mr Grayle owned. But he came into some money and quit but then he lost it and became a blackmailer of rich women. She confesses what he had on her:
“I will, anyhow. I got a little tight at his house once and passed out. I seldom do. He took some photos of mewith my clothes up to my neck.”
“The dirty dog,” I said. “Have you got any of them handy?”
She slapped my wrist. She said softly:
“What’s your name?”
“Phil. What’s yours?”
“Helen. Kiss me.”
She fell softly across my lap and I bent down over her face and began to browse on it. She worked her eyelashes and made butterfly kisses on my cheeks. When I got to her mouth it was half open and burning and her tongue was a darting snake between her teeth.
The door opened and Mr. Grayle stepped quietly into the room. I was holding her and didn’t have a chance to let go. I lifted my face and looked at him. I felt as cold as Finnegan’s feet, the day they buried him.
The blonde in my arms didn’t move, didn’t even close her lips. She had a half-dreamy, half-sarcastic expression on her face.
Mr. Grayle cleared his throat slightly and said: “I beg your pardon, I’m sure,” and went quietly out of the room. There was an infinite sadness in his eyes.
I felt nasty, as if I had picked a poor man’s pocket.
You made plans to meet her at a club late that night to work on her case.
In the driveway you run into Anne Riordan again. Shes already figured out what you just learned.
A horn tooted. Miss Riordan’s coupe was drawn up behind my car. I went over there and looked in at her. She looked cool and sarcastic.
She sat there with her hands on the wheel, gloved and slim. She smiled.
“I waited. I suppose it was none of my business. What did you think of her?”
“I bet she snaps a mean garter.”
“Do you always have to say things like that?” She flushed bitterly. “Sometimes I hate men. Old men, young men, football players, opera tenors, smart millionaires, beautiful men who are gigolos and almost-heels who areprivate detectives.”
I grinned at her sadly. “I know I talk too smart. It’s in the air nowadays. Who told you he was a gigolo?”
“Don’t be obtuse. Marriott.”
“Oh, it was a cinch guess. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be nasty. I guess you can snap her garter any time you want to, without much of a struggle. But there’s one thing you can be sure ofyou’re a late comer to the show.”
Option: Watch this scene in the film: 40.45

A very racist chapter A native American Indian driver Mr Planting comes to pick you up for your psychic appointment. You make bad comments about how he smells and speaks. You also make racist comments about the Psychics Asian secretary. You meet the psychic: Amthor.
He was thin, tall and straight as a steel rod. He had the palest finest white hair I ever saw. It could have been strained through silk gauze. His skin was as fresh as a rose petal. He might have been thirty-five or sixty-five. He was ageless. His hair was brushed straight back from as good a profile as Barrymore ever had. His eyebrows were coal black, like the walls and ceiling and floor. His[Pg 230] eyes were deep, far too deep. They were the depthless drugged eyes of the somnambulist His eyes were deep like that. And they were also eyes without expression, without soul, eyes that could watch lions tear a man to pieces and never change, that could watch a man impaled and screaming in the hot sun with his eyelids cut off.
Amthor says he knew Lindsay Marriott. Says he trained him to improve his acting skills and voicework to go from a radio man to an actor. But Amthor said it was no use, Marriott wasnt silver screen material.
You laid out your own theory: Lindsay was more than a client of Amthors he was a finger man helping robbers rob rich women that he was blackmailing. Amthor is caught off guard. Maybe youve hit too close to the money. Then everything goes black.
The Indian attacked you and continues to choke you till you almost pass out. Amthor sneers at you and insults you: ”I could teach you,” he said in his soft voice. “But to what purpose? A dirty little man in a dirty little world. One spot of brightness on you and you would still be that. Is it not so?” He smiled, so beautifully.
Two Bay City cops start talking to you, with Amthor still present. Hes told police you were a peeping tom on his property. The cops are crooked they are on Amthors payroll.
The cops kick him out of the car, surprisingly, knocking him out in the process.
You wake up in a mental rehab institution, drugged up with painkillers and dope. You see Moose Malloy drugged up in there too. Dr Sonderborg tells you were admitted by Amthors dirty Bay City cops. He claims you had narcotic poisoning and needed heavy strength sedation. You grab and gun and leave Sonderborg warns youll be arrested. You dont care. You go to Anne Riordans house.
Her eyes went wide and scared. Her face under the glare of the porchlight was suddenly pale.
“My God,” she wailed. “You look like Hamlet’s father!” (AKA dead this is not a compliment).
Anne takes care of you. Shes also figured out the scam:
“That this elegant psychic person is nothing but a high-class mobster.[Pg 252] He picks the prospects and milks the minds and then tells the rough boys to go out and get the jewels.”
She wants him to go to a hospital. You, of course, refuses. They share a moment. You, of course, ruin it.
Good old Detective Nulty shows up he confirms what Anne already figured out Amthor is a mobster involved with jewel heists.
He also tells you Anne has a crush on you.
“She likes you,” Randall said, like a polite FBI man in a movie, a little sad, but very manly. “Her old man was as straight a cop as ever lost a job. She had no business taking those things. She likes you.”
“She’s a nice girl. Not my type.”
“You don’t like them nice?” He had another cigarette going. The smoke was being fanned away from his face by his hand.
“I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin.”
“They take you to the cleaners,” Randall said indifferently.
You share your suspicious of Marriott blackmailing wealthy women, in league with Amthor, and decide to return to Mrs Florian’s to press her for more details.
You go back to Mrs Florians neighbourhood and speak to the Old Nosey neighbour Mrs Morrison again with Lieutenant Randall. She has no new info except that Mrs Florian went out for more alcohol a few days ago. The two of you then break into her locked house.
Flies buzzed against the closed windows of the kitchen. The place reeked. Randall stood in the middle of the floor, giving it the careful eye.
We went swiftly into the bedroom. Mrs. Jessie Pierce Florian lay diagonally across the bed, in a rumpled cotton house dress, with her head close to one end of the footboard. The corner post of the bed was smeared darkly with something the flies liked.
She had been dead long enough.
“Brains on her face,” he said. “That seems to be the theme song of this case. Only this was done with just a pair of hands. But Jesus, what a pair of hands. Look at the neck bruises, the spacing of the finger marks.”
Was she shaken to death by Malloy?
Detective Randall warns you off investigating these murders any further.
“Just so we understand each other,” he said after a pause. “If you crab this case, you’ll be in a jam. It may be a jam you can wriggle out of this time. I don’t know. But little by little you will build up a body of hostility in this department that will make it damn hard for you to do any work.”
You shrug it off. ”Every private dick faces that every day of his lifeunless he’s just a divorce man.”
Because of the involvement of the Bay City cops whom Amthor called in, you went to visit the corrupt Bay City police chief, John Wax, who brushes you off until you mention that he has been hired by Mrs Grayle. Marlowe is then told that Malloy may be hiding out on a gambling boat anchored beyond thethree-mile limitand run by mobster Laird Brunette, who also controls the corrupt city government in Bay City. You sneak on board with the help of Red Norgaard, another honest cop fired by Bay City, and despite being caught by Brunette, persuades him to pass a message through his criminal network to Malloy.
You started to suspect another connection Maybe Mrs Grayle had connections to Amthor toodid she do some voice and acting training? Maybe her rich lady getup was a disguise after all
Back on land, you called Mrs Grayle, and talk her into picking you up for your planned catch up. She flirts with you and promises to be there soon.
She hung up, leaving me with a curious feeling of having talked to somebody that didn’t exist.
I went down to the lobby and slipped the catch and then took a shower and put my pajamas on and lay down on the bed. I could have slept for a week. I dragged myself up off the bed again and set the catch on the door, which I had forgotten to do, and walked through a deep hard snowdrift out to the kitchenette and laid out glasses and a bottle of liqueur Scotch I had been saving for a really high-class seduction.
I lay down on the bed again. “Pray,” I said out loud. “There’s nothing left but prayer.”
You fall asleep exhausted its been a hell of a week.
I woke slowly, unwillingly, and my eyes stared at reflected light on the ceiling from the lamp. Something moved gently in the room.
The movement was furtive and quiet and heavy. I listened to it. Then I turned my head slowly and looked at Moose Malloy. There were shadows and he moved in the shadows, as noiselessly as I had seen him once before. A gun in his hand had a dark oily business-like sheen. His hat was pushed back on his black curly hair and his nose sniffed, like the nose of a hunting dog.
He saw me open my eyes. He came softly over to the side of the bed and stood looking down at me.
“I got your note,” he said. “I make the joint clean. I don’t make no cops outside. If this is a plant, two guys go out in baskets.”
“Door was open. Expecting someone?”
“A dame.” You say nonchalantly.
You get to the point. “You killed a woman,” I said. “Jessie Florian. That was a mistakeyou wanted to know where Velma was.”
But she didnt know Velma was too smart for her.
“I’m not afraid of you. You’re no killer. You didn’t mean to kill her. The other oneover on Centralyou could have squeezed out of. But not out of beating a woman’s head on a bedpost until her brains were on her face.”
“You take some awful chances, brother,” he said softly.
“The way I’ve been handled,” I said, “I don’t know the difference anymore. You didn’t mean to kill herdid you?”
“You wanted her to tell you something,” I said. “You took hold of her neck and shook her. She was already dead when you were banging her head against the bedpost.”
Just then, a female voice is heard outside you tell Malloy to hide.
She stood there half smiling; in the high-necked white fox evening cloak she had told me about. Emerald pendants hung from her ears and almost buried themselves in the soft white fur. Her fingers were curled and soft on the small evening bag she carried.
The smile died off her face when she saw me. She looked me up and down. Her eyes were cold now.
“So, it’s like that,” she said grimly. “Pajamas and dressing gown. To show me his lovely little etching. What a fool I am.”
I stood aside and held the door. “It’s not like that at all. I was getting dressed and a cop dropped in on me. He just left.”
You offer her a drink. She makes it clear she wants a date not a quick roll in the hay.
“I wanted to make a point. I must be a little vulgar to make it. I’m not one of these promiscuous bitches. I can be hadbut not just by reaching. Yes, I’ll take a drink.”
She takes the glass and tasted it and looked across it at the far wall. “I don’t like men to receive me in their pajamas,” she said. “It’s a funny thing. I liked you. I liked you a lot. But I could get over it. I have often got over such things.”
I nodded and drank.
“Most men are just lousy animals,” she said. “In fact, it’s a pretty lousy world, if you ask me.”
“Money must help.”
“You think it’s going to when you haven’t always had money. As a matter of fact, it just makes new problems.” She smiled curiously. “And you forget how hard the old problems were.”
You switch gears and want to talk murder. Her gaze grows cold and hard, but she listens as you lay out your new theory: Lindsay Marriott WASNT a finger man for the jewel mob or a blackmailer. And he WASNT killed by a gang or going to retrieve a jade necklace. In fact, you believe he planned to kill you but was killed instead.
She leaned forward a little and her smile became just a little glassy. Suddenly, without any real change in her, she ceased to be beautiful. She looked merely like a woman who would have been dangerous a hundred years ago, and twenty years ago daring, but who today was just Grade B Hollywood.
She said nothing, but her right hand was tapping the clasp of her bag.
Boldly, you say your theory that Helen Grayle put a hit out on you after finding out you were looking for Velma at the same time Moose Malloy got out of jail. You believe Helen Grayle would do anything to keep Velmas secrets because HELEN GRAYLE WAS VELMA.
“A girl who started in the gutter became the wife of a multimillionaire. On the way up a shabby old woman recognized herprobably heard her singing at the radio station and recognized the voice and went to seeand this old woman had to be kept quiet. But she was cheap, therefore she only knew a little. But the man who dealt with her and made her monthly payments and owned a trust deed on her home and could throw her into the gutter any time she got funnythat man knew it all. He was expensive. But that didn’t matter either, if nobody else knew. But some day a tough guy named Moose Malloy was going to get out of jail and start finding things out about his former sweetie. Because the big sap loved herand still does. That’s what makes it funny, tragic-funny. And about that time a private dick starts nosing in also. So, the weak link in the chain, Marriott, is no longer a luxury. He has become a menace. They’ll get to him and they’ll take him apart. He’s that kind of lad. He melts under heat. So, he was murdered before he could melt. With a blackjack (hired killer). By you.”
All she did was take her hand out of her bag, with a gun in it. All she did was point it at me and smile. All I did was nothing.
But that wasn’t all that was done. Moose Malloy stepped out of the dressing room with the Colt .45 still looking like a toy in his big hairy paw.
He didn’t look at me at all. He looked at Mrs. Lewin Lockridge Grayle. He leaned forward and his mouth smiled at her and he spoke to her softly.
“I thought I knew the voice,” he said. “I listened to that voice for eight yearsall I could remember of it. I kind of liked your hair red, though. Hiya, babe. Long time no sees.”[Pg 307]
She turned the gun.
“Get away from me, you son of a bitch,” she said.
He stopped dead and dropped the gun to his side. He was still a couple of feet from her. His breath labored.
Moose, who had been in love so long realised a cold and bitter truth.
“I never thought,” he said quietly. “It just came to me out of the blue. You turned me into the cops. You. Little Velma.”
I threw a pillow, but it was too slow. She shot him five times in the stomach. The bullets made no more sound than fingers going into a glove.
Then she turned the gun and shot at me, but it was empty. She dived for Malloy’s gun on the floor. I didn’t miss with the second pillow. I was around the bed and knocked her away before she got the pillow off her face. I picked the Colt up and went away around the bed again with it.
He was still standing, but he was swaying. His mouth was slack, and his hands were fumbling at his body. He went slack at the knees and fell sideways on the bed, with his face down. His gasping breath filled the room.
I had the phone in my hand before she moved. Her eyes were a dead gray, like half-frozen water. She rushed for the door and I didn’t try to stop her. She left the door wide, so when I had done phoning I went over and shut it. I turned his head a little on the bed, so he wouldn’t smother. He was still alive, but after five in the stomach even a Moose Malloy doesn’t live very long.
I went back to the phone and called Randall at his home. “Malloy,” I said. “In my apartment. Shot five times in the stomach by Mrs. Grayle. I called the Receiving Hospital. She got away.”
He didn’t live that long. He died in the night.
You catch up with Anne and retell the events of the night and what youve learned since: Velma had charmed her way into Lewin Lockridges life, and they had married in secret in Europe. He said she had a third name, a real name, but he refused to give it to police.
“Why won’t he tell?” Anne Riordan cupped her chin on the backs of her laced fingers and stared at me with shadowed eyes.
“He’s so crazy about her he doesn’t care whose lap she sat in.”
“I hope she enjoyed sitting in yours,” Anne Riordan said acidly.
“She was playing me. She was a little afraid of me. She didn’t want to kill me because its bad business killing a man who is a sort of cop. But she probably would have tried in the end, just as she would have killed Jessie Florian, if Malloy hadn’t saved her the trouble.”
“I bet it’s fun to be played by handsome blondes,” Anne Riordan said. “Even if there is a little risk. As, I suppose, there usually is.”
He was in love with her,” Anne said softly. “I mean Malloy. He just bought some fine clothes and started to look for her the first thing when he got out. So, she pumped five bullets into him, by way of saying hello. He had killed two people himself, but he was in love with her. What a world.”
You tell her the good news: As for Amthor, he’s a bad hat. They picked him up in a New York hotel and they say he’s an international con man. Scotland Yard has his prints, also Paris. How the hell they got all that since yesterday or the day before I don’t know. These boys work fast when they feel like it.
But there’s a nice shakeup here in Bay City. The Chief has been canned and half the detectives have been reduced to acting patrolmen, and a very nice guy named Red Norgaard, who helped me get on the Montecito, has got his job back. The mayor is doing all this, changing his pants hourly while the crisis lasts.”
Anne is impressed by you and your part in the whole take down.
“You’re so marvelous,” she said. “So brave, so determined and you work for so little money. Everybody bats you over the head and chokes you and smacks your jaw and fills you with morphine, but you just keep right on hitting between tackle and end until they’re all worn out. What makes you so wonderful?”
“Go on,” I growled. “Spill it.”
Anne Riordan said thoughtfully: “I’d like to be kissed, damn you!”[Pg 311]

It took over three months to find Velma. They wouldn’t believe Grayle didn’t know where she was and hadn’t helped her get away. So, every cop and newshawk in the country looked in all the places where money might be hiding her. And money wasn’t hiding her at all.
One night a Baltimore detective had a breakthrough he saw a beautiful black-haired, black browed bombshell with a voice to remember. Later, flicking through the Wanted file at the station he found her. He copied the file and went to the club to confront her. She was in the dressing room smoking marijuana and laughed when he handed her the wanted file.
“You’re a smart lad, copper. I thought I had a voice that would be remembered. A friend recognized me by it once, just hearing it on the radio. But I’ve been singing with this band for a monthtwice a week on a networkand nobody gave it a thought.”
“I never heard the voice,” the dick said and went on smiling.
She said: “I suppose we can’t make a deal on this. You know, there’s a lot in it, if it’s handled right.”
“Not with me,” the dick said. “Sorry.”
“Let’s go then,” she said and stood up and grabbed up her bag and got her coat from a hanger. She went over to him holding the coat out so he could help her into it. He stood up and held it for her like a gentleman.
She turned and slipped a gun out of her bag and shot him three times through the coat he was holding.[Pg 312]
She had two bullets left in the gun when they crashed the door. They got halfway across the room before she used them. She used them both, but the second shot must have been pure reflex. They caught her before she hit the floor, but her head was already hanging by a rag.
“The dick lived until the next day,” Lieutenant Randall said, telling me about it. “He talked when he could. That’s how we have the dope. I can’t understand him being so careless, unless he really was thinking of letting her talk him into a deal of some kind. That would clutter up his mind. But I don’t like to think that, of course.”
I said I supposed that was so.
“Shot herself clean through the hearttwice,” Randall said. “And I’ve heard experts on the stand say that’s impossible, knowing all the time myself that it was. And you know something else?”
“She was stupid to shoot that dick. We’d never have convicted her, not with her looks and money and the persecution story these high-priced guys would build up.
Poor little girl from a dive climbs to be wife of rich man and the vultures that used to know her won’t let her alone. That sort of thing.
“She was a killer,” I said. “But so was Malloy. And he was a long way from being all rat. Maybe that Baltimore dick wasn’t so pure as the record shows. Maybe she saw a chancenot to get awayshe was tired of dodging by that timebut to give a break to the only man who had ever really given her one.”
Randall stared at me with his mouth open and his eyes unconvinced.
“Hell, she didn’t have to shoot a cop to do that,” he said.
“I’m not saying she was a saint or even a halfway nice girl. Not ever. She wouldn’t kill herself until she was cornered. But what she did and the way she did it, kept her from coming back here for trial. Think that over. And who would that trial hurt most? Who would be least able to bear it? And win, lose or draw, who would pay the biggest price for the show? An old man who had loved not wisely, but too well.”
Randall said sharply: “That’s just sentimental.”
“Sure. It sounded like that when I said it. Probably all a mistake anyway. So long.
I rode down to the street floor and went out on the steps of the City Hall. It was a cool day and very clear. You could see a long waybut not as far as Velma had gone.

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