- زمان مطالعه 9 دقیقه
- سطح خیلی سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این فصل را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی فصل
A Glass of Something Golden
A woman’s voice answered, dry and foreign-sounding. No, she said I couldn’t speak to Mr Amthor, but she could take a message and maybe Amthor could see me next week. I spelled out my name, address and phone number for her and then said I wanted to see Amthor about Lindsay Marriott. I spelled that for her too. I said I wanted to see her boss soon - s-o-o-n. Fast. She understood. I hung up and poured myself a drink from the office bottle. Ten minutes later, she called back and said Amthor would see me at six that evening, that he’d send a car to fetch me.
I was half-way to the lift, on my way to get some lunch, when an idea hit me. I stopped and pushed my hat back on my head before going back into the office and calling a man I knew. I wanted to find out who owned old Jessie Florian’s house on West 54th Place. He could help me. He called me back about three minutes later with the answer.
‘Man named Lindsay Marriott,’ he said. I think I thanked him, put the phone down and sat staring at the wall for a couple of minutes. Then I went down to the coffee shop, ate lunch, got my car out of the car-park and drove east again, to West 54th Place. I didn’t have a bottle with me this time.
I went first to the house next door where an old woman lived and watched everything in the street from her windows. She would have some answers. I asked her if a big man had been into Mrs Florian’s house the day before, and she described Moose Malloy to me exactly. She also said Mrs Florian always received a letter by special delivery on the first day of every month. Tomorrow was the first of April - April Fool’s Day. I asked her to be sure to notice if the special letter came as usual, thanked her and walked across to the house next door.
No one answered when I knocked and rang. I tried again. No answer. The door was open, so I went inside. The radio was turned off but Mrs Florian was there, in the bedroom, in bed. She opened her eyes slowly and looked at me.
‘Good afternoon, Mrs Florian,’ I said. ‘Are you sick?’
‘You get him?’ she answered.
‘Who? The Moose? No, not yet, but we will. Why? You frightened of him?’ No answer to that. I put a Camel in my mouth and waited.
‘One thing,’ I said after a minute or two, ‘I found out who owns this house. Lindsay Marriott.’
Her body went stiff under the bedclothes, like wood. Her eyes froze. Suddenly, she threw back the covers and sat up with her eyes flaming and pointed a little gun at me. But I was too quick for her; I stepped backwards through the door and out.
‘Think about it, Mrs Florian,’ I shouted back over my shoulder. I went out of the house fast, but nothing happened. She probably couldn’t walk straight enough to follow me and shoot me in the back. I drove away.
I went to see Nulty at the 77th Street police station.
‘You,’ he said as I came in the door. ‘I thought you weren’t helping me with the Malloy investigation anymore.’
You still got that picture of Velma Valento? It’s really mine and I’d like to keep it,’ I said.
He found it under some papers and gave it to me. I put it in my pocket and left Nulty looking hopeless and helpless behind his desk.
The phone was ringing as I walked back into my office. It was the rich and beautiful Mrs Grayle, Marriott’s friend who had lost her diamond ring so carelessly, and she wanted to see me as soon as possible. She gave me her address: Aster Drive, Bay City. I was there almost before she had said goodbye.
Aster Drive was full of nice big houses near the ocean. The man at the gate of the Grayles’ place was ugly and unfriendly, but he let me in eventually and I parked next to the five or six cars in the driveway. The house itself wasn’t much. Smaller than Buckingham Palace. I rang the doorbell. A manservant opened it and showed me into a large expensive room. The three people in there stopped talking when I came in. One of them was Anne Riordan, holding a glass of something golden in one hand. Another was an older man with a sad face and the third was Mrs Grayle. She was better than her photograph - perfect, a dream, in fact. And she was giving me an interesting smile.
‘Nice of you to come, Mr Marlowe,’ she said. ‘This is my husband.’
I shook hands with Mr Grayle and smiled at Anne Riordan, wondering what she was doing there. Mr Grayle poured me a whisky and then left. Anne Riordan said she had to be going too. She left too, without another look at me.
‘Do you think you can help me?’ Mrs Grayle asked. ‘I’d be so happy if you could help. I was so shocked to hear about Lin Marriott. Poor Lin.’
‘Who knew the true value of that diamond ring?’ I asked. ‘Did he?’
‘I’ve wondered about that,’ she replied, her face getting a hard look on it. ‘He was with me that night, so he knew I was wearing the diamond on my hand all evening.’
‘And what happened out there? How did these guys take it off you?’
‘They must have followed us from the Trocadero, where we had dinner. Lin was driving. We were in a dark street when suddenly a car passed us fast and just hit the side of our car, then stopped in front of us. A tall, thin man in a coat, with his hat low over his face, got out and pulled a gun on us. Another man came up on the other side of our car and took my jewellery and my handbag. They gave my bag back after going through it. Then they left and we went home. The next day I got a call from one of them and Lin agreed to talk to them for me. I think you know the rest of it.’
‘Yeah. All except the blackmail. Marriott was a blackmailer, wasn’t he? He was blackmailing you, wasn’t he? You don’t have to tell me why.’
She stopped to think. ‘Yes, he was,’ she said slowly. ‘He lived from blackmailing rich women, like me.’
I had some of the story, but she wanted to meet me later that evening at a club in town. There was more to tell me.
I drove out of the gate, waving to the ugly man there, and stopped just outside when I saw Anne Riordan’s car standing at the side of the street. She gave me a nice smile.
‘Who told you Marriott played his lady-friends for money?’ I asked her.
‘Just a guess,’ she said. ‘You probably want me to stay out of this business, don’t you? But I thought I was helping a little. Sorry if I wasn’t. It was nice to know you anyway.’
And she started her car and drove away fast down the street. I watched her go.
It was nearly six when I reached my office again. I lit a cigarette and sat down to wait.
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