The Gracie Allen Murder Case - S.S. Van Dine - ebook

The Gracie Allen Murder Case ebook

S. S. Van Dine

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Gracie Allen in this case is not a famous artist, but a worker in a perfume factory. She involuntarily gives the enchanted Philo Vance all the important clues in this murder of a gangster, in those days when Riverdale in the Bronx was a rural paradise. Vance meets her when she interacts with nature, and then again in a trendy restaurant where her brother plays an important role. For a moment, her mother appears, a gentle, faded lady who turns out to be as sharp as Gracie.

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Liczba stron: 221

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Contents

CHARACTERS OF THE BOOK

CHAPTER I. A BUZZARD ESCAPES

CHAPTER II. A RUSTIC INTERLUDE

CHAPTER III. THE STARTLING ADVENTURE

CHAPTER IV. THE DOMDANIEL CAFÉ

CHAPTER V. A RENDEZVOUS

CHAPTER VI. THE DEAD MAN

CHAPTER VII. QUEER COINCIDENCES

CHAPTER VIII. AT THE MORTUARY

CHAPTER IX. HELD ON SUSPICION

CHAPTER X. AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR

CHAPTER XI. FOLKLORE AND POISONS

CHAPTER XII. A STRANGE DISCOVERY

CHAPTER XIII. NEWS OF AN OWL

CHAPTER XIV. A DYING MADMAN

CHAPTER XV. AN APPALLING ACCUSATION

CHAPTER XVI. ANOTHER SHOCK

CHAPTER XVII. FINGERPRINTS

CHAPTER XVIII. JONQUILLE AND ROSE

CHAPTER XIX. THROUGH THE SHADOW

CHAPTER XX. HAPPY LANDING

CHARACTERS OF THE BOOK

Philo Vance

John F.-X. Markham

District Attorney of New York County.

Ernest Heath

Sergeant of the Homicide Bureau.

Gracie Allen

A worker in a perfume factory.

George Burns

A perfume mixer and scent-tester.

Daniel Mirche

Maître d’hôtel of the Domdaniel café.

Dixie Del Marr

Singer at the Domdaniel café.

C. Amos Doolson

President of the In-O-Scent Corporation.

Jimmy Puttle

A perfume salesman.

Mrs. Allen

Gracie Allen’s mother.

Philip Allen

Gracie Allen’s brother.

“Owl” Owen

Head of a large criminal ring.

Benny the Buzzard (Beniamino Pellinzi)

A gangster.

Delpha (Rosa Tofana)

A fortune-teller.

Tony Tofana

Her husband.

Snitkin

}

Hennessey

}

Sullivan

}

Guilfoyle

} Detectives of the Homicide Bureau.

Burke

}

Emery

}

Tracy

}

Doctor Emanuel Doremus

Medical Examiner.

Doctor Mendel

Assistant Medical Examiner.

Currie

Vance’s valet.

CHAPTER I. A BUZZARD ESCAPES

(Friday, May 17; 8 p.m.)

Philo Vance, curiously enough, always liked the Gracie Allen murder case more than any of the others in which he participated.

The case was, perhaps, not as serious as some of the others–although, on second thought, I am not so sure that this is strictly true. Indeed, it was fraught with many ominous potentialities; and its basic elements (as I look back now) were, in fact, intensely dramatic and sinister, despite its almost constant leaven of humor.

I have often asked Vance why he felt so keen a fondness for this case, and he has always airily retorted with a brief explanation that it constituted his one patent failure as an investigator of the many crimes presented to him by District Attorney John F.-X. Markham.

“No–oh, no, Van; it was not my case at all, don’t y’ know,” Vance drawled, as we sat before his grate fire one wintry evening, long after the events. “Really, y’ know, I deserve none of the credit. I would have been utterly baffled and helpless had it not been for the charming Gracie Allen who always popped up at just the crucial moment to save me from disaster.... If ever you should embalm the case in print, please place the credit where it rightfully belongs.... My word, what an astonishing girl! The goddesses of Zeus’ Olympian ménage never harassed old Priam and Agamemnon with the éclat exhibited by Gracie Allen in harassing the recidivists of that highly scented affair. Amazin’!...”

It was an almost unbelievable case from many angles, exceedingly unorthodox and unpredictable. The mystery and enchantment of perfume permeated the entire picture. The magic of fortune-telling and commercial haruspicy in general were intimately involved in its deciphering. And there was a human romantic element which lent it an unusual roseate color.

To start with, it was spring–the 17th day of May–and the weather was unusually mild. Vance and Markham and I had dined on the spacious veranda of the Bellwood Country Club, overlooking the Hudson. The three of us had chatted in desultory fashion, for this was to be an hour of sheer relaxation and pleasure, without any intrusion of the jarring criminal interludes which had, in recent years, marked so many of our talks.

However, even at this moment of serenity, ugly criminal angles were beginning to protrude, though unsuspected by any of us; and their shadow was creeping silently toward us.

We had finished our coffee and were sipping our chartreuse when Sergeant Heath, looking grim and bewildered, appeared at the door leading from the main dining-room to the veranda, and strode quickly to our table.

“Hello, Mr. Vance.” His tone was hurried. “... Howdy, Chief. Sorry to bother you, but this came into the office half an hour after you left and, knowing where you were, I thought it best to bring it to you pronto.” He drew a folded yellow paper from his pocket and, opening it out, placed it emphatically before the District Attorney.

Markham read it carefully, shrugged his shoulders, and handed the paper back to Heath.

“I can’t see,” he said without emotion, “why this routine information should necessitate a trip up here.”

Heath’s cheeks inflated with exasperation.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.