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The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout

The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout

Author:Rex Stout [Stout, Rex]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Mystery Fiction, General, Political, Private Investigators, Literary Criticism, Wolfe, Nero (Fictitious character), New York (N.Y.), Crime, Private Investigators - New York (State) - New York
ISBN: 9780553237214
Publisher: Random House, Inc.
Published: 1992-06-01T04:46:54+00:00


9

I was back in the soundproofed room, on my fanny with my legs stretched out and my eyes focused on my toes, going over the mess for the tenth time, when Wolfe arrived at twenty minutes to seven, ushered in by Felix. Knowing that was the busiest time of day downstairs for Felix, I shooed him out and took Wolfe's coat and hung it up and said I hoped he had had an interesting trip.

He growled and went and sat in the armchair which Marko Vukcic had bought years ago for his friend Nero's exclusive use.

Between Wolfe's visits it is kept in the room that was Marko's personal den. "I have decided," he said, "that every man alive today is half idiot and half hero. Only heroes could survive in the maelstrom, and only idiots would want to."

"It's tough in spots," I conceded, "but you'll feel better after you eat. Felix has woodcock."

"I know he has." He glared. "You enjoy it."

"I have up to now. Now, I'm not so sure. How about Hewitt?"

"Confound it, he enjoys it too. Everything is arranged. Saul was very helpful, as he always is. Satisfactory."

I went and took a chair. "My report may not be satisfactory, but it has its points. To begin at the end, Mrs Althaus says that she never heard her son mention Sarah Dacos."

"Why should he?"

"That's one of the points. Cause and effect."

I reported, the conversations in full and the actions in detail, including the frolic with the G-men. It had been our first actual contact with the enemy, and I thought he should know how we had handled ourselves. That armchair wasn't as good as his in the office for leaning back and closing his eyes, but it would do, and it was almost like home. When I finished he didn't move a muscle, not even opening an eye. I sat through three minutes of complete silence and then spoke.

"I understand, of course, that all that bored you-if you bothered to listen. You don't give a damn who killed Morris Althaus. All you're interested in is this cocky shenanigan you're cooking up, and to hell with who murdered whom. I appreciate your not snoring. A sensitive man like me."

His eyes opened. "Pfui. I can say satisfactory, and I do. Satisfactory. But you could have proceeded. You could have had that woman here this afternoon instead of this evening."

I nodded. "You're not only bored, your connections are jammed. You said we prefer by far the second alternative, so we certainly want to know if there is any chance of getting it. Sarah Dacos was there in the house, if not when he was shot, soon after. It's possible she can settle it, one way or the other. If you want-"

The door opened, and Pierre entered with a loaded tray. I glanced at my watch: 7:15. So he had told Felix a quarter past seven; by gum, he was hanging on to one rule at least, and he would certainly hang on to another one, no business talk at the table.



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