Lieberman's Thief - Stuart M. Kaminsky - ebook
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A thief puts his life in danger when he becomes an unwitting witness to a murder scene. Harvey Rozier has planned the murder carefully. Unseen, he slips out of the concert hall and sneaks home, knowing that if all goes perfectly he will have an hour to stab his wife to death. But things don't go smoothly, and he is pursuing the bleeding woman through the kitchen when he trips over a toolbox, and finds himself face-to-face with a shocked cat burglar. George "Pitty-Pitty" Patniks had planned his crime even more thoroughly than Rozier, but was not counting on stumbling into a homicide. He escapes before Rozier can stop him - a witness to a hideous crime that he cannot report to the police. Long-suffering Chicago homicide detective Abe Lieberman suspects Rozier instantly, but cannot find enough proof to arrest him. To bring this killer to justice, he will have to find the thief who saw it all - before Pitty-Pitty Patniks's mouth gets shut forever. About the Author. Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934-2009) was one of the most prolific crime fiction authors of the last four decades. Born in Chicago, he spent his youth immersed in pulp fiction and classic cinema - two forms of popular entertainment which he would make his life's work. After college and a stint in the army, Kaminsky wrote film criticism and biographies of the great actors and directors of Hollywood's Golden Age. In 1977, when a planned biography of Charlton Heston fell through, Kaminsky wrote Bullet for a Star, his first Toby Peters novel, beginning a fiction career that would last the rest of his life. Kaminsky penned twenty-four novels starring the detective, whom he described as "the anti-Philip Marlowe." In 1981's Death of a Dissident, Kaminsky debuted Moscow police detective Porfiry Rostnikov, whose stories were praised for their accurate depiction of Soviet life. His other two series starred Abe Lieberman, a hardened Chicago cop, and Lew Fonseca, a process server. In all, Kaminsky wrote more than sixty novels. He died in St. Louis in 2009. Review quote. "Beautifully rendered. . . . Kaminsky is extraordinarily attuned to the domestic minutiae of his detectives' lives." - Chicago Tribune. "Kaminksy's books just keep getting better. . . . An outstanding story." - Booklist. "A standout performance. . . . Nobody writing today can mix taut suspense with a sense of creeping mortality as shatteringly as Kaminsky." - Kirkus Reviews. "For anyone with a taste for old Hollywood B-movie mysteries, Edgar winner Kaminsky offers plenty of nostalgic fun . . . The tone is light, the pace brisk, the tongue firmly in cheek." - Publishers Weekly. "Marvelously entertaining." - Newsday. "Makes the totally wacky possible . . . Peters [is] an unblemished delight." - Washington Post. "The Ed McBain of Mother Russia." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Epigraph

The Burglar Prowls

In Which Things Go Awry

Doctors

A Morning of Denial

In Which a Door Closes

The Usual Suspects

Houses

Unwelcome Visitors

When Mothers Dream

Confrontations

Panic in the Streets

Mean Streets

Tricks and Traps

Circles and Confrontations

Evening Tides

Four Women at Midnight

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Cover

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About the Book

A thief puts his life in danger when he becomes an unwitting witness to a murder scene.

Harvey Rozier has planned the murder carefully. Unseen, he slips out of the concert hall and sneaks home, knowing that if all goes perfectly he will have an hour to stab his wife to death. But things don’t go smoothly, and he is pursuing the bleeding woman through the kitchen when he trips over a toolbox, and finds himself face-to-face with a shocked cat burglar. George “Pitty-Pitty” Patniks had planned his crime even more thoroughly than Rozier, but was not counting on stumbling into a homicide. He escapes before Rozier can stop him - a witness to a hideous crime that he cannot report to the police.

Long-suffering Chicago homicide detective Abe Lieberman suspects Rozier instantly, but cannot find enough proof to arrest him. To bring this killer to justice, he will have to find the thief who saw it all - before Pitty-Pitty Patniks’s mouth gets shut forever.

About the Author

Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934-2009) was one of the most prolific crime fiction authors of the last four decades. Born in Chicago, he spent his youth immersed in pulp fiction and classic cinema - two forms of popular entertainment which he would make his life’s work. After college and a stint in the army, Kaminsky wrote film criticism and biographies of the great actors and directors of Hollywood’s Golden Age. In 1977, when a planned biography of Charlton Heston fell through, Kaminsky wrote Bullet for a Star, his first Toby Peters novel, beginning a fiction career that would last the rest of his life.

Kaminsky penned twenty-four novels starring the detective, whom he described as “the anti-Philip Marlowe.” In 1981’s Death of a Dissident, Kaminsky debuted Moscow police detective Porfiry Rostnikov, whose stories were praised for their accurate depiction of Soviet life. His other two series starred Abe Lieberman, a hardened Chicago cop, and Lew Fonseca, a process server. In all, Kaminsky wrote more than sixty novels. He died in St. Louis in 2009.

Lieberman’s Thief

An Abe Lieberman Mystery

Stuart M. Kaminsky

 

BASTEI ENTERTAINMENT

 

Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG

 

Copyright © 2015 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany

 

For the original edition:

Copyright © 2013 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1995 by Stuart Kaminsky

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Jim Tierney

 

E-book production: Jouve Germany GmbH & Co. KG

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-479-1

 

www.bastei-entertainment.com

 

All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this e-book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

To Bernard Feinberg, M.D.,

and Elliott Livstone, M.D.,

with thanks for keeping

the ship afloat

“For here, among my friends I learnt to measure your mind, your menace, and your enmity. But if I had been trapped inside your house, you would have sent me straight to death.”

—Ion in Ion, by Euripides

The Burglar Prowls

GEORGE PATNIKS HATED HIS nickname, “Pitty-Pitty.” There was no dignity in a name like Pitty-Pitty Patniks, but then Alex Sewell, the boss of cell block C, hadn’t been concerned about George’s dignity. Sewell had a great nickname, “Steelhead.” It implied that nothing could penetrate Sewell’s head, not a tool shop knife made from a toothbrush, not a V bar loosened from the bottom of a bunk, not a thought or idea. Steelhead was a risky nickname. It gave a target and defied the other cons to go after it.

But Pitty-Pitty, what the hell sense did that make? George, whose real name was Gregor Eupatniaks, was sure that Steelhead Sewell, who was serving two life sentences for murdering a pair of runaway girls in Moline, hadn’t thought about the nickname he bestowed on the skinny kid who had just done the first month of time for his first felony, breaking and entering.

But the name stuck. George couldn’t shake it. It followed him to Chicago’s Near North Side neighborhood where he had spent his life, except for the two years he had done for breaking and entering and the two more years he had done for breaking and entering again and the year he had done for possession of a weapon, a dinky piece, a .22 he carried in his tool belt under his jacket. It was really the burglary tools in the belt that they had gotten him for, not the Friday night nothing-special, but they couldn’t nail him on the tools so they got him for the gun.

Even the police called him Pitty-Pitty. A grown man, now pushing forty-six, with almost six years of down time on three felonies. That was one of the worst things about being picked up, cops yelling his nickname across a squad room.

George considered himself one of the most successful burglars in Cook County. He wasn’t sure how many houses, businesses, and apartments he had plucked—two hundred? Maybe three hundred? Maybe more? You’d think he’d keep count, but he didn’t, like a movie star on Jay Leno who can’t remember how many movies he’s been in.

George hadn’t worked an honest day in his life since his sixteenth birthday, but the dishonest ones had added up over the years. He practiced his profession once every three or four weeks for a few hours—not counting set-up time—and devoted the rest of his time to eating, sleeping, hanging out with his brother when he was around, and trying, sometimes successfully, to pick up women or girls at Unikle’s Tap or the Blue Truck Bar. But what he liked to do most was something that he had picked up in prison. George’s passion was painting. He had always liked to draw, but in prison an artist from Chicago named Joplin—guy in denims, hair hanging over his eyes, mess of a beard—had conducted a six-week class in painting. George had taken to it. He was a natural. He could paint what was in his head from the moment he picked up the brush.

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