"my name is mullihan. detective mullihan, of the new york police department, the 33rd precinct."
"yes, detective. i do not believe that is the local precinct here, but in any case how may i assist you?"
"i see you are an informed citizen. who am i speaking to? are you the butler?"
"my name is williams, detective. i am in fact the butler here."
"good. are either or both miss and mister collision available? i realize it is very late but i was told they might still be up."
"mister collision is definitely awake, and miss collision almost certainly so. might i enquire as to the nature of this call?"
"i have a couple of people here who are witnesses to a homicide."
mullihan waited a few seconds, but williams made no comment, so he continued. "they say they left your place between a half hour and forty-five minutes ago." mullihan briefly described fortescue and carol.
"oh yes, i called a cab for them myself," williams answered. "i'm afraid i can't give you the exact time, but forty-five minutes ago sounds about right."
"and they were there for about how long, can you tell me that? "
"oh, the gentleman for perhaps two hours, maybe a little less. let me think. the young lady for a bit longer than that, perhaps two and a half or three hours. they did not arrive together."
"but they left together?"
"yes, in a cab i called myself."
"thank you, you are very helpful." mullihan made a few notes on his pad of paper.
"do you still wish to talk to miss and mister collinson?"
mullihan hesitated. "i tell you what. i know it's late. i think i will send someone up during the day to take their statements. how's that?"
"i don't want to tell you your business, detective, but both are very late sleepers. very late sleepers indeed. you might be better advised to send someone now, or tomorrow night. as i say - "
"no, no, that's good. thank you. thank you very much. i will have someone come over now. let them know."
"i will do that, detective. thank you."
mullihan hung up. he looked at fortescue and carol, took a sip of coffee, then looked around. "where's dooley? he's here, isn't he?" he called over to the desk sergeant.
"yeah, he's back there," the desk sergeant answered, "probably reading one of his books."
"dooley!" mullihan shouted.
red looked at the napkin angie had just scribbled on.
"angela wilson from san francisco," he read, " central 5 - 2255 - hotel st crispian. the blue suite."
"that's it. just wanted to make sure you could read my writing."
"hotel st crispian, i know where that is, between washington square and seventh avenue, right?"
"yeah. now if you don't mind calling me a cab - "
"hey, i can give you a lift myself, if you want to wait a few minutes. i go almost right by there."
"you're closing up?"
"might as well. maisie or clyde can open the place up when they get here. they do it all the time."
"all right then. what about those two guys still playing in back?"
red shrugged. "they can go or stay and wait for maisie."
"cool." angie took her pack of cigarettes back out of her purse.
red went to get a jacket. "hotel st crispian - i knew that rung a bell."
"oh yeah? about what?"
"stan slade - the guy who just escaped from sing sing - he used to hang out there."
"you don't say."
"you see the papers?"
"no, i just got back in town tonight."
red came back with his jacket on. "let me just tell gus and whatshisname we're leaving."
red came back. "they say they'll wait for maisie or clyde. i'll lock them in."
red locked the door behind them and they walked over to his car on the pier.
"did you know slade?" red asked.
"i met him once or twice. i 'd know him if i saw him."
"tommy thought he was a pretty smart guy. went his own way."
"i thought he was kind of high hat. thought he was the devil's own gift to women."
they approached the car. "there's a pretty good reward out for him."
angie laughed. "rewards. does anybody ever really get paid off on them?"
"hey, rook, wake up!" detective nate goldsmith, twenty-five years on the force, took the stub of his william penn cigar out of his mouth. "can't you hear mullihan calling you?"
dooley, the newest and youngest detective in the 33rd precinct, opened his eyes. "what?"
"you weren't even reading that book, were you, rook? haw! haw! you was asleep."
"of course i wasn't asleep. i was just - engrossed." dooley closed the book in his hand - a thick tome entitled " principles of criminology, volume 5: the calculus of criminal types".
suddenly mullihan stood over him. "how about engrossing me, dooley? engross me just a little bit, if you'd be so kind."
"sure, sure." dooley got to his feet and put his book on the table beside the coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays.
mullihan picked the book up, looked at it, shook his head, and snickered. "i got a job for you. if you think you're awake enough."
"maybe you'll get to meet some real criminal types," goldsmith told him. "want me to go with him, hold his hand?" goldsmith asked mulligan.
"nah, this is as routine as it gets. if he meets any criminal types, they'll be the highest class criminal types he ever will meet."