For the Love of Mike (Molly Murphy Mysteries, #3)
J. P. Riley and Associates,
M. Murphy Notes:
Monday, Oct. 14, 1901
Followed JBT from his office at 38 Wall Street. Observed him entering 135 E. Twelfth Street at approximately 7:40 P.M.
Actually I had been guessing at the time. I heard the clock on Grace Church, a couple of blocks away at Tenth and Broadway, chiming the half hour and it hadn’t yet chimed the three quarters, but in my profession guessing wasn’t really good enough. I’d just have to get myself a watch. I sensed my mother turning in her grave at the thought of such presumptive ideas. No one in Ballykillin had ever owned a watch, apart from the family at the big house, and they didn’t count, being English. It was a pity I hadn’t managed to get my hands on Paddy Riley’s pocket watch before the police took his body away. Now it was probably on some sergeant’s watch chain, where it was going to stay put, and as for myself, I wasn’t making enough money to indulge in luxuries. If you want a real confession, I wasn’t making any money at all.
After a rather eventful summer during which I found myself without an employer, I had decided to run J. P. Riley and Associates (I being the associate) without him and had taken over a couple of the divorce cases that were still on his books. The first of them was resolved by the parties in question, who reconciled during a romantic summer encounter at Newport, Rhode Island. I learned this from the wife, who sent me ten dollars, “for my time and trouble.” Since I’d been tramping all over the city, locating the different actresses and brothels that the wandering Mr. Pfitzer had been visiting, the ten dollars hardly covered my time and trouble, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. These society people knew each other and I’d not be likely to find any more clients if I aggravated the few I had. But the cheek of it still rankled. I wondered if she’d send her doctor ten dollars for his time and trouble if the patient recovered after his ministrations!
But I was learning to hold my tongue when necessary nowadays and sent the good lady a receipt for her donation. The other investigation was still ongoing, which was why I was spending a long, dreary evening on the sidewalk of East Twelfth, between University Place and Broadway, observing the brown-stone opposite. I hadn’t yet discovered who lived there, but I knew it was a woman, as I had heard the man I was following, Mr. John Baker Tomlinson III, ask the maid if her mistress was at home. Her mistress, mark you, and no mention of a master. Maybe this time I had struck gold. No man of quality would visit an unchaperoned woman after dark without jeopardizing her reputation.
By 11 P.M. my suspect still hadn’t emerged and I began to wonder if he was intending to stay the night. Not a happy thought for him, having to face an angry wife tomorrow morning, nor for me. It had begun to rain around nine and I had forgotten to bring an umbrella. I could feel my bonnet becoming soggier by the minute. My cloak was beginning to smell like wet sheep.
I stamped my feet and walked up and down a little, before I remembered that I was supposed to be invisible. My departed employer, Paddy Riley, could remain motionless, blended into the shadows for hours. I would never learn his patience; in fact I was beginning to question whether I was cut out for this line of work after all. I liked the excitement all right and it beat working in a sweatshop for eighteen hours a day or gutting fish at the Fulton Street market, which seemed the only other options for an Irish girl fresh off the boat. There had been a companion’s position, but we won’t go into my reasons for leaving that. It was still too painful to think about. Even after three months the ache wouldn’t go away. Let’s just say that proving I could do quite well without Daniel Sullivan was the main force that drove me to stand on a wet, windy sidewalk when most respectable folk were already in their beds.