Pattern for a Crime by Brett Halliday

Pattern for a Crime by Brett Halliday

Author:Brett Halliday
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Tags: detective, mystery, murder, suspense, crime
Publisher: Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine
Published: 2014-06-23T06:00:00+00:00

V

THE STAKEOUT CAR in front of the rooming house was an unmarked undercover car with a single plain-clothesman in it. Lieutenant Mosby stopped to have a brief word with him before going inside.

They found the outside man’s partner posted in the hallway outside of room 212. He straightened up from a slouching position when he saw the lieutenant.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in there, Lieutenant,” he said. “I’ve listened at the door a half dozen times, and I can’t hear a sound.”

“Go get the manager,” Mosby ordered.

The man went down the stairs. The lieutenant, Shayne and the two uniformed officers waited as a good five minutes passed. While waiting, Mosby went over to lay his ear against the door, then shrugged and leaned against the wall. Eventually the stakeout man reappeared with a thin, elderly man wearing a robe over pajamas.

“You the manager of this place?” Lieutenant Mosby asked.

“Yes, and this is the second time I’ve been routed out of bed,” the man complained. “What is it this time?”

“What’s your name?”

“Henry Fellinger.”

“How come you don’t have a pass key to all the rooms, Mr. Fellinger?”

Fellinger said in an aggrieved tone, “Like I told this other officer here, I had one, but I lost it last week. You’ll just have to wait until Mr. Trimble comes home if you want to get in there.”

“I don’t think so,” Mosby informed him. He turned to his two uniformed companions. “Break it in.”

“Hey!” the manager protested. “You can’t do that!”

“Watch us,” Mosby said. “Go ahead, boys.”

George Gannon examined the door, which was held by a spring lock. Then he backed across the hall, charged forward and threw a beefy shoulder against it. The door shuddered but the lock held.

Rubbing his shoulder, Gannon stepped aside as his partner Joe hurled himself against the door. There was the rending sound of screws being torn from wood and the door crashed inward against the inside wall.

Lieutenant Mosby entered the room, followed by Shayne. The center light was off, but a small light burned over the corner washbowl. There was a strong odor of whisky in the room. An empty pint bottle stood on the dresser. A second, also empty, lay on the floor. A wet stain on the rug around it explained the odor. Apparently it had been at least half full when it spilled.

A straight-backed chair lay on its side near the room’s center. A section of doubled clothesline was securely tied to the overhead light fixture and hung downward.

Hanging limply from the end of the rope was the body of Barry Trimble.

The men in the hall had now all crowded in behind Mike Shayne. Everyone stared at the dead man.

Henry Fellinger squeaked, “He’s dead! He hung himself!”

Swinging toward the rooming-house manager, Lieutenant Mosby snapped, “We won’t need you any more, Mr. Fellinger. Go on back to bed.”

The man continued to stare open-mouthed at the dead man. George Gannon took his arm and gently steered him from the room. He stood watching from the doorway until he was sure the manager had gone back downstairs, then re-entered the room.



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