Cast, in Order of Disappearance
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Who killed Marius Steen, the theatrical tycoon with a fortune to leave to his young mistress Jacqui? And who killed Bill Sweet, the shady blackmailer with a supply of compromising photographs? Charles Paris, a middle-aged actor, takes to detection by assuming a variety of roles.
was terrible. Even says so himself, I think. He did a whistling act, maybe. Or speciality of some sort. Fire-eating perhaps it was? Hey, d’you hear about the fire-eater who couldn’t go anywhere without meeting an old flame? Eh? Made him feel really hot under the collar.’ Harry chuckled. ‘Made that one up, y’know. Didn’t have any of this script-writer nonsense in my day. You did your own act, and it was yours all the way. Yes.’ He gazed absently ahead, and raised his glass to his lips with a
act, putting shows on, making money. Making money. Always knew where every penny was. Tight as a bottle-top. You hear him squeak every time he moves.’ ‘What was he like?’ ‘I don’t know how to answer that. Hard as nails. A real bugger, particularly about money. Made a lot of enemies.’ ‘What sort of people?’ ‘People who hadn’t read the small print of their contracts. Never missed a trick, old Steenie. I remember, one bloke, mind-reader he was—Steenie booked him for some Variety bill, forget
Steen that you’d got the photographs at any time?’ ‘No. I wanted it to be a surprise—a present. He had mentioned them vaguely, said he was a bit worried. So I fixed to get them.’ ‘When were they actually handed over to you?’ ‘Last Saturday evening.’ ‘And you never mentioned them even when you tried to ring Steen?’ ‘I started to. On the Sunday evening when I first rang him. I spoke to Nigel. I said it was about the photographs, but even before I’d finished talking, he gave me this message
‘I’m sure you wouldn’t want your wife and two lovely daughters to—’ ‘No.’ ‘Ten thousand then, Mr Holroyd, and you’ll have the whole album.’ ‘But I—’ The line went dead. Charles felt enormous relief that he wasn’t Bill Holroyd. Bill Holroyd was a man with problems. Still, it explained Mrs Sweet’s sudden change of behaviour. Oh dear, and he’d thought it was his own animal magnetism. Charles turned to see Miles and Juliet standing open-mouthed in the kitchen doorway. ‘Sorry about that. Talking
gloom. ‘What shall I do?’ Joanne’s voice floated after him. ‘Get the police.’ He stumbled on, occasionally trying a little jogging run. His body ached all over and the wounded arm felt as if it were dropping off. The strain of the last few days was beginning to tell, and he knew he hadn’t got much energy left. If it came to violence, he wasn’t going to do too well. He didn’t relish facing Jem and Eric (he felt sure it was they who’d carried Jacqui off). Sweat trickled down his sides in spite