Perfect for fans of C. S. Harris and Will Thomas, the murder of a wealthy financier unleashes a torrent of deadly secrets in pre-Civil War New York society in S. M. Goodwin's second book in the Lightner and Law mysteries.
Albert Beauchamp disappeared just before Christmas in 1856. When he reappears more than a year later, he's in several pieces, packed in salt in a shipping crate in New Orleans. NYC inspectors Jasper Lightner and his partner, Hieronymus Law, are called in to investigate--but the further they dig into the wealthy financier's background, the dirtier the story gets. On the surface, Beauchamp had a lot of friends. But, as they discover, each had a good reason to hate him.
Beauchamp's last will and testament--stashed away in a safety deposit box, along with a king's ransom in jewels--yields few clues, but Jasper and Hy discover something even more valuable: a little black book filled with names, dates, and a cache of damning details.
Following a trail of leads that reaches back to the early 1840s, the detectives uncover a sordid litany of high society scandals that still threatens the city's moneyed establishment. And the shadowy figure who knows their dirtiest secrets re-emerges with a devious new plan that goes far beyond simple blackmail.
The dark shadows grow longer as Jasper and Hy close in on the truth--and a killer lies in wait for his ultimate prey.
Release date: September 7, 2021
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Print pages: 336
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Crooked in His Ways
S. M. Goodwin
New York City
Albert Beauchamp looked around at the romantic scene he’d set and rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation.
He honestly couldn’t recall an evening he’d looked forward to more than this one. Mrs. Adolphus Vogel—Helen, as he would finally be able to address her—was one of the true beauties of New York society. And tonight, she would be all his.
He could hardly believe his good fortune. When Mrs. Vogel had first come to him—heavily veiled and calling under the unimaginative name of Mrs. Smith—he’d not dared to hope that one day he’d have her in the palm of his hand.
In your bed is more like!
Albert grinned; yes, tonight he’d have the belle of New York naked in his arms. His pulse pounded at the thought of stroking her flawless skin, thrusting his fingers into her thick auburn tresses, caressing her—
Hold up there, Albert! Don’t want to embarrass yourself when she arrives on your doorstep, old thing.
The voice of reason jerked him away from what had been a speedily building erotic fantasy. That was sound advice; he needed to calm down and think of something other than the night ahead.
Instead, for the umpteenth time, he inspected the intimate dining area he’d arranged just for this evening.
He’d dispensed with harsh gaslight, opting for the glow of a crackling fire along with the kinder illumination of a few beeswax candles. After all, it had been nearly three years since Mrs. Vogel’s debut, and she was no longer the dewy adolescent who’d taken New York society by storm. She was a matron—a mature woman of twenty-one who would appreciate his efforts.
Not to mention it’ll take a few years off your six decades, Alby old boy …
Albert flinched at the unkind—but true—observation. Yes, he’d be fifty-eight come March, but he was still a fine figure of a man. He glanced in the mirror and smiled at what he saw. He wore the same size trousers and coats he’d sported when he’d been a mere lad. And if he employed a bit of aid in the form of a corset to fit into them, well, tonight he would remove the helpful but detestable garment after dinner, before he went to his beautiful new mistress’s arms.
Smiling at the thought, he turned back to the table. He’d had his cook prepare a meal fit for a queen before he’d sent her and all the other servants away for the evening.
It was a fête champêtre supper—an indoor picnic for lovers who didn’t want to be interrupted by servants bearing new courses. There was salmon aspic, three different pâtés, Virginia ham sliced so thin you could almost see through it, chilled cucumber soup, a crusty loaf of bread, a blancmange served with a little pot of clotted cream, a—
Albert paused at the faint, almost insistent sound he realized he’d been hearing for several minutes. Was that the doorbell?
He pulled out his watch, a gift from Gerta, his unlamented late wife; it was still fifteen minutes until Mrs. Vogel was to arrive.
The bell rang again, and Albert realized the reason it was so faint was that it was the bell for the servants’ entrance, not the front door.
He frowned; the last thing he wanted right now was—
It rang again. And again. And again.
Heaving a sigh of irritation, he left his little love nest—which he’d had the foresight to set up in the sitting room attached to his bedchamber—and made the long journey down to the ground floor.
The shrieking bell had been a faint ringing two flights up but was deafening in the ceramic confines of the kitchen.
“I’m coming,” he yelled, doubtful that he could be heard over the din. He should have kept at least one servant until midnight for matters like this. “Enough already!” He flung open the door and was confronted by darkness. He glanced at the gaslight sconce beside the door; somebody had smashed it.
Albert frowned at the destruction. “What the devil?” he muttered, and then pulled his gaze away from what was left of the sconce and squinted as the darkness coalesced into a human shape. “Yes?” He scowled when the figure remained silent. “You were ringing the bell like a lunatic, and now—oh, it’s you.”
Albert’s shoulders—which had become painfully tense—relaxed as the shadowy form turned into a recognizable human being.
“Why have you come to the back door? You know—oof!”
Albert looked down at where his visitor’s hand had come to rest on his belly. The handle of a hunting knife jutted out.
Searing pain accompanied the realization.
“Good God—” He huffed out the words, staggered backward, and drew in a breath to yell.
But his attacker was faster. Again and again the knife plunged into him, the arm flickering, as though Albert were viewing it all from the window of a speeding train.
His back rammed into something sharp and unforgiving—the edge of a counter or drawer—abruptly stopping his retreat.
His arms, which he’d raised in a futile gesture of protection, became leaden and dropped to his sides. Albert’s mind listed like a quickly sinking ship. “But—” It was all he managed to get out before he coughed up a great gout of blood and began to slide down to the floor.
Hands grabbed his hair and slammed his head back against something sharp and hard; the agonizing pain from his skull caused his vision to double and treble.
His aggressor dropped onto his chest, the familiar face distorted by ruthless determination and hatred.
“Why—” And then a trail of fire across his throat cut off his words. His chest rose and fell, but no air reached his lungs.
Above him, a pair of pitiless blue eyes watched and waited as the light faded to black.
New York City
July 2, 1857
Jasper squinted through the haze of sleep at the sound of his valet’s voice. “What t-time is it, Paisley?” he asked as he shielded his eyes against the low-burning gaslight lamp beside the bed.
“Almost five thirty, my lord.” He paused, and then added, “In the morning.”
Jasper smiled at Paisley’s gentle hint. Ever since his neighbor Mrs. Dunbarton’s suicide, his normally dictatorial servant had worn kid gloves around him.
Paisley had known—in the way servants do—that Jasper had begun to develop a liking for the acerbic widow. No doubt Paisley believed that Jasper’s subsequent five-day absence was his way of grieving for Mrs. Dunbarton. In part, his valet was correct.
But Jasper was ashamed to admit that the impulse that had led him to Gordon Chang’s place of business in the notorious Five Points area had also been a self-destructive one—at least to begin with.
It was fortunate for Jasper that Mr. Chang wasn’t just a purveyor of opium, he was also trained in the Eastern discipline of acupuncture.
Had Jasper indulged in his favorite vice while at Chang’s?
Of course he’d smoked opium.
But he’d also slept, undergone acupuncture for his relentless headaches, and eaten the hearty but plain food Chang’s Irish wife, Irene, cooked for their customers who stayed in the three monastic rooms the couple maintained—in their own home—for those who came to take acupuncture treatments.
The bulk of Chang’s customers—those who only wanted opium—were relegated to the tiny, darkened warren of rooms behind the small herbalist shop.
It was possible that Jasper might, even now, still be living in that small, immaculate room if he could have overlooked the pity and scorn in Mrs. Chang’s eyes whenever she looked at him. Jasper couldn’t blame her; hiding away from the world was self-indulgent and weak, especially when a person was relatively healthy, wealthy, and had others relying on him for their livelihood.
So he’d come home before poor Paisley had needed to come and fetch him.
“Detective Law is downstairs, my lord.”
Paisley’s voice shook Jasper from his sleepy reverie and he pushed out of bed, grimacing as he did so. Yesterday, his first morning back home, he’d resumed his exercise regime with a vengeance. And today he was feeling all thirty-four of his years.
Hieronymus Law glanced at the much-diminished plate of pastries.
“You go on, Mr. Law. His lordship won’t eat ’em, and lord knows I don’t need any more,” said Lightner’s new cook, Gloria Freedman.
“Thank you, ma’am.” Hy surreptitiously watched Mrs. Freedman as he munched on the strawberry jam–filled tart. As far as Hy was concerned, the woman’s name suited her to a T. Not only did she cook the most glorious damned food he’d ever eaten, but she was glorious to look at, too. She was on the smallish side, with a curvy figure that even her big dun apron couldn’t hide. Her hair was covered by the sort of ugly white cotton cap female servants seemed to wear, but even that couldn’t diminish her fine looks. Full lips, a sharp chin, and the prettiest melting brown eyes Hy could ever recall seeing.
Still, as beautiful as she was, the best thing about her—in Hy’s opinion—was the way she put Lightner’s terrifying valet, Mr. Paisley, in his place without hardly trying; the woman was truly fearless.
Paisley scared the shit out of Hy.
“Do you always get up this early?” Hy asked after he’d washed down the last of the tart with strong coffee liberally lightened with cream and sweetened with three spoonfuls of sugar; the cook had only served him breakfast twice before, but she already knew his coffee habits.
Mrs. Freedman looked up from the massive lump of dough she was kneading into submission. “I have the past few days.” Hy thought her smile looked strained. “All the other kitchen workers quit last week.”
Her words made him realize it was strangely quiet, and he glanced around the enormous, gleaming, and surprisingly cool kitchen. “You doin’ everything yourself?”
Before she could answer him, the door opened and Lightner walked in.
Hy hadn’t seen the other man for almost a week—not since the day the rich society woman, Hesperis Dunbarton, had committed suicide. He couldn’t help thinking the Englishman looked gaunt and tired.
Mrs. Freedman pulled her fists out of the dough and dropped a curtsey. “Good morning, my lord.”
Hy got to his feet; there was just something about his new boss that seemed to demand the courtesy. “Mornin’, sir.”
“Good morning, Mrs. Freedman, D-Detective Law.” Lightner glanced around the empty kitchen and a notch formed between his arched, black brows. “Are you alone, Mrs. F-Freedman?”
“Yes, my lord.”
The notch became more pronounced. “Where are your helpers? I r-recall Paisley engaged several scu-scullery maids?”
The door he’d just come through opened again, and Paisley himself entered before Mrs. Freedman could answer. “I’ve set two places in the breakfast room, my lord.”
Lightner gave a dismissive flick of his hand. “Nonsense. I shall have a quick c-c-cup of tea in here.”
Hy bit back a smile at the lightning-fast look of displeasure that flitted across the hoity-toity valet’s face.
“Would you like a slice of almond coffee cake with your tea, my lord?” Mrs. Freedman asked, cutting Paisley a look that was decidedly triumphant as Lightner settled down at the kitchen table.
“That would be lovely, Mrs. F-Freedman.” Lightner nodded at Hy. “What do we have this m-morning, Detective?”
Hy pulled his gaze away from Paisley, who appeared to have grown roots in the tiled kitchen floor. Hy could only assume that Lightner, the son of a duke, wasn’t supposed to eat his meals in the kitchen.
Welcome to America, Mr. Paisley.
As if he’d heard him, Paisley shot Hy a narrow-eyed look, turned with military precision, and left the kitchen without another word.
Hy took out his notebook, even though the details were pretty much branded into his brain, probably forever.
“Body of a dead male found inside a crate, packed in salt.”
Lightner’s eyes widened. “Good Lord. Where?”
“Well, that’s the thing, sir.” Hy gathered his thoughts, not wanting to blurt things out all willy-nilly and sound like an idiot.
“What thing?” Lightner prodded gently.
“So, the crate started out in New York and was shipped to New Orleans last Christmas—on the twentieth of December. It arrived in New Orleans on January seventeenth. Nobody came forward to claim it. Apparently, the company appropriates any unclaimed goods and holds them for four months against their fee for storage. When they opened this crate they found the body of Mr. Albert Beauchamp.” Hy realized Mrs. Freedman had been heading toward them with a teapot, but was now standing frozen in place, her mouth open. “I beg your pardon, ma’am.”
Lightner’s pale cheeks flushed slightly as he glanced at the cook. “P-Perhaps we should take this to the b-breakfast room.”
His words galvanized Mrs. Freedman into action. “You don’t need to leave on my account, sir.” She set down the teapot. “It just took me by surprise is all.”
“M-Me too,” Lightner murmured. “So,” he said, continuing, “they opened the crate and then somebody in New Orleans identified the b-body and then decided to s-s-send it back.”
“I don’t believe the folks in New Orleans removed Mr. Beauchamp from the crate. Er, at least they don’t say. They assumed it was Beauchamp since that was the name on the ticket.”
“Ah. So we’ll n-need an identification?”
Mrs. Freedman returned with a cup and saucer and a small platter heaped with slices of what must be almond pound cake. Hy’s stomach growled. He’d already eaten four pastries, but sometimes his bottomless stomach surprised even him.
Lightner’s lips twitched as he offered Hy the plate.
“Thank you, sir.” He took two slices—what the hell—and Mrs. Freedman refilled his coffee cup. Hy nodded his thanks and said, “Knowing how you like the body to stay in the condition it was found in, I wouldn’t have removed him from the crate, but, er, unfortunately the two stevedores who were moving it dropped it.”
Back at her kneading, Mrs. Freedman gasped.
Lightner winced and took a sip of coal-black tea before saying, “If he was p-packed in salt I daresay he’s fairly resilient to such v-violence.”
“Exactly, sir. He’s pretty tough, and I don’t think the fall damaged any of his, er, parts.”
“Parts?” Lightner said, his teacup hovering halfway to his mouth.
Mrs. Freedman also stared; Hy felt bad, telling such a gruesome tale in front of a woman. To be honest, seeing all Beauchamp’s pieces had almost made him puke.
Still, his boss had asked him a question. “Oh, didn’t I mentioned he’d been dismembered?”
“You f-f-f-failed to mention that, Detective.” Lightner stopped, cut Mrs. Freedman a quick glance and thankfully left the unpleasant subject alone for the moment.
They both took a bite of almond cake. Hy wasn’t so embarrassed by the satisfied grunt that slipped out of him when he saw Lightner’s expression of pure bliss.
They ate in reverential silence for a moment before Hy said, “After they loaded the salt and Beauchamp into a fresh crate, I had the body taken over to Bellevue, to Doc Kirby.”
“Beauchamp’s address is 148 Sullivan, not far from Houston—that’s a tony street, by the way. It straddles the wards, but the Eighth got lucky and pulled this case.”
Lightner—a notoriously sparing eater—finished his slice and reached for a second.
At Hy’s surprised look Lightner gave a sheepish shrug. “If I d-don’t eat it now, Paisley will—he’s quite g-g-greedy about Mrs. Freedman’s almond cake.” He cut the smirking cook a smile. “I trust you will use that p-piece of information wisely, ma’am.”
Mrs. Freedman chuckled and, for the first time, Hy almost felt sorry for the badly outmatched Mr. Paisley.
“How did you learn all this about the b-body?” Lightner asked.
“The wharf agent sent a letter with the crate. He said the New Orleans police didn’t want any part of it. They figured it was a New York matter since Beauchamp arrived dead.”
Lightner chuckled. “Well, what d-do we know about Mr. Beauchamp’s journey to N-New Orleans?”
“The crate went down on a ship in the Merchants Steamship Line. The wharf agent said the port police brought them the sealed crate January seventeenth.”
“I wonder why they n-never opened it?”
“Apparently nobody wanted to open it because it was in one of the first-class cabins, and they assumed the owner would return quickly to claim it. Those tickets cost fifty dollars, one way, so nobody believed the room would have been booked for nothing but a crate.”
Lightner gave a laugh of disbelief. “And n-nobody in the crew noticed the passenger never ate—never l-left his cabin, never needed f-fresh linens?”
“There was nothin’ about that in the letter, sir.”
“I suppose the crew were th-thrilled to have such an undemanding passenger.”
Hy chuckled. “Aye, I expect that was part of it. The ship is called the Spirit of Freedom and is due back at Pier 42 tomorrow.”
“Was anything else in the c-cabin?”
“The letter didn’t say, sir. I suppose we’ll be able to ask the crew, not that anyone will remember after so much time.”
“Well, the circumstances are odd, so hopefully somebody will r-r-remember.” Lightner took a drink of tea, shook his head at Mrs. Freedman’s offer of more, and said, “One would have thought the New Orleans p-p-police would have been curious about the body. Beauchamp is a French surname. It’s a w-wonder they didn’t look for relatives, at least.”
Hy had wondered about that, too.
Lightner tossed his napkin onto his empty plate and stood. “Well, it scarcely matters now. M-Mister Beauchamp has come all the way b-back to us, so I suppose he n-now belongs to us.”
Jasper stared up at the three-story building on Sullivan Street as they waited for somebody to open the door.
It was modern, certainly no older than five or ten years. Right beside it was an identical building with four bronze plaques beside the door, so it must be divided into apartments.
Beauchamp’s house only had his name on the over-large baroque plaque.
It was still dark outside but dawn wasn’t far away. Law pounded on the door with one huge fist, rattling the heavy slab of wood so loudly they could probably feel it on the next street.
He also cranked the doorbell again and squinted in through one of the sidelights. He turned to Jasper and shook his head. “Maybe there ain’t—”
The door swung open to expose a tall, bone-thin man dressed in a nightshirt and robe, his gray hair askew, as if he’d just risen from bed. “Do you have any idea what time it is?” he demanded, glaring at them through bleary eyes.
“Is this Mr. Alfred Beauchamp’s house?” Law asked.
The man blinked, clearly taken aback. “Er, yes, but Mr. Beauchamp isn’t here.”
“Where is he?”
“He’s in New Orleans.” He frowned, his sleepy gaze turning suspicious and flickering from Law to Jasper and then back. “Just what is this about?”
“How l-long has he been away?” Jasper asked.
“Who are you?” he demanded belligerently.
Jasper handed him a card and he glanced it, his eyes going wide. “Metropolitan Police? What’s this about?”
“P-Perhaps you might invite us in to wait while you get dressed, Mr.—” Jasper raised his eyebrows.
The other man glanced down at himself and flushed when he saw what he was wearing. “Oh. Yes. Of course,” he stepped back and gestured them into the foyer. “I’m Robert Keen, Mr. Beauchamp’s butler,” he added absently, staring at them as if unsure what to do with them.
“We can w-wait while you get dressed,” Jasper repeated, using the same firm tone he used to motivate recalcitrant servants and soldiers.
It worked well on Keen, whose pale cheeks were stained a splotchy red. “Er, yes. Of course, sir.” He stood straighter. “You can wait in the library.” He preceded them up the stairs.
The room the butler left them in was darkly elegant, the rich, jewel color palate of bottle green, chocolate brown, and old gold reminiscent of a Dutch Masters painting. Jasper recognized two of the end tables as Sheratons, and a Hepplewhite cabinet sat against one wall: Mr. Beauchamp had been a man with some taste and the money to indulge it.
However, for a library, it did not contain a great many books. Those that were on the shelves were mostly bound in oxblood leather with gold printing: a collection purchased for show rather than lovingly assembled over a lifetime.
But the items interspersed with the books were another matter entirely. The objets d’art were eclectic, ranging from a narrow-necked vase Jasper thought might be from the Tang Dynasty, to a child’s wooden pull-toy shaped like a duck, to three Shakespeare quartos, items perhaps more valuable than the vase.
Jasper dragged a gloved finger across the surface of one of the shelves and it came away coated with dust.
He looked up to find Law watching him. “Seems like the mice have been playin’ while the cat was away.”
Jasper had to agree. The room felt as if it hadn’t been cleaned—or even entered—in a very long time. Well, except for the ball and claw service table against one wall. He couldn’t help noticing slightly less dusty circles where bottles had recently sat. So somebody had come in here to help themselves to whatever had been in those bottles.
He heard movement behind him and turned to see Law going through the desk.
The young detective quickly worked through the upper drawers and then crouched to inspect those on the bottom. He stood, unfolding his six-foot-five frame with a wince, his knees popping, and shook his head. “Nothin’ but stationery, some pens, bits of paper, and odds and sods—it’s almost like it’s been cleaned out.” He waved a hand to encompass everything around them. “Who do you reckon has been payin’ for all this these past months?”
“That’s an excellent question,” Jasper murmured, parting the dusty velvet drapes. The window looked out over a charming walled garden. From his vantage point on the second floor he could see over the vine-covered wall into the backyard of the identical house next door. The same care had not been taken with that yard, and a rather careworn rectangle of grass was bisected by a dirt path leading to a small outbuilding.
Between the two houses was a driveway that led to a two-story carriage house.
“What do you make of this, sir?”
He turned to find Law holding a small key.
Jasper took it and turned it over in his hand: the number 47 was stamped on one side, the tiny initials NYBT embossed on the other. “Looks l-like a key to a deposit box.” Jasper had two very similar keys: one for a box in London and one for his new bank here.
“That’s a private safe at a bank?” Law asked, making Jasper realize the average person did not have a need for such a thing.
“Yes. Where did you find it?”
Law lifted up the heavy desk chair—another Hepplewhite, if he wasn’t mistaken—to show Jasper the bottom; there was a small wooden box affixed to the underside of the seat.
“Ingenious,” he said, cutting Law a look of surprise. “How did you know to ch-ch-check there?”
The towering man gave him a sheepish look. “When you grow up sharin’ a room with thirty other boys, you learn to hide things. I’m not sure why Beauchamp would need to hide things, though—he looks like he had plenty of brass to buy privacy.”
The door opened, and a far more proper-looking Keen entered the room, followed by a maidservant, her cap askew, carrying a tea tray.
“You can put that on the table, Mary, thank you.”
The girl deposited her burden, cut Jasper and Detective Law curious looks, and then darted out the door.
“I apologize for my appearance earlier,” Keen said. “I took the liberty of bringing tea in case—”
Jasper gestured to one of the seats around the tray. “Why don’t you take a cup with us, Mr. K-Keen.”
Hy bit back a smile as the stiff-lipped butler instinctively responded to the quiet authority in the Englishman’s voice. He was pretty sure that Keen would have told Hy to go to hell if he’d invited him to have a seat.
“I t-take mine dark,” Lightner murmured.
Rather than be offended at being told what to do, the butler looked grateful—and relieved—to have a task.
The Englishman relaxed into the big wing chair, crossing one expensively trousered leg over the other, as if settling in for a cozy chat.
“When was the l-last time you saw Mr. Beauchamp?”
“Not since last year.” Keen looked up from the pot, which he’d just rinsed with steaming water and was now spooning in tea. “December seventeenth.”
“You recall the d-day exactly?”
“Only because he gave all the servants an early day off.”
“Why was that?”
Keen put the last of the six spoonsful in and poured in the boiling water before lidding the pot and glancing up. Something about the tea ritual must have stiffened his resolve because he gave Lighter a sharp look. “I don’t feel comfortable answering personal questions about my employer.”
Lightner’s eyebrows rose.
Keen gritted his jaw, and then heaved a put-upon sigh. “He was going to entertain a lady friend and didn’t want anyone here.”
“I don’t know why.” When Lightner said nothing, Keen went on. “My guess is whoever was coming to dinner shouldn’t have been here.”
“Did that happen often?” Lightner asked.
Keen shrugged. “A few times a year.”
“You have no idea who it was?”
The man was a lousy liar.
But, surprisingly, Lightner moved on. “Mr. B-Beauchamp told you he was going to New Orleans?”
Keen frowned, tried to stare the Englishman down, but dropped his eyes back to the tray, his hands fiddling with a silver tea strainer. “He left a letter.”
Keen looked up at the skepticism in Lightner’s voice. “Yes, it was an emergency—that’s what the letter said. That he’d received a telegram.”
Keen’s jaw tightened, but he answered all the same. “He said it was from his family.”
“Ah. Do you h-have an address? Names?”
“He didn’t mention either in the letter.” He hesitated and then added, “To be honest, I didn’t even know he hadany family.”
“How long have you w-worked for Mr. Beauchamp?”
“Three years, not long after the house was finished and he moved in. I’ve worked for him the longest of any of the servants,” he added.
“Do you know where he l-lived before?”
“He never said.” Again, Keen hesitated and then added, “He had new address plates made for his valise and some other luggage right after I started working for him. I recall the old address was someplace in Chicago.”
“D-Did he indicate when he would return from N-New Orleans?”
“He only said it would be some months, but he wanted me to move into the house while he was gone. He said he didn’t want it to be left unoccupied.”
Lightner’s eyebrows shot up. “You don’t normally live at the house with the other servants?”
“Mr. Beauchamp doesn’t like having any servants live in.” He frowned. “It was unusual—I’ve always lived in anywhere I’ve buttled, but he claimed he liked his privacy.” Keen said the word as if it were something exotic.
“So it has just been y-y-you here all this time—alone?”
“Only at night, but the others come in at the usual times.”
“What times are those?” Lightner asked, sounding genuinely curious.
Hy couldn’t help thinking about the Englishman’s servants; most of them had already been awake and dressed when he’d shown up this morning.
Keen’s mouth tightened and he sighed. “Mr. Beauchamp required us here between five and seven o’clock, depending on the position, but I’ve allowed them to come in later.”
And slept in himself, Hy couldn’t help noticing.
“He kept a full staff while he was away, indefinitely?”
“Yes, he said to keep everyone on, even though there was very little to do, because he wasn’t sure when he’d return.” He shrugged. “He was a wealthy man and could afford to indulge his whims.”
Lightner scribbled something in his book.
“It turned out to be a good thing, too.”
Lightner looked up. “I’m sorry, wh-wh-what was that?”
“I mean him having me move in.” He pursed his lips. “This is a nice street, but I’ve had to call for police threetimes while I’ve been here.”
“Oh? What happened?”
“Just burglars trying to get into the house once, and the carriage house twice."
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