A Nose for Danger, part 12

I hadn’t figured on Winthrop getting iced. When a guy’s that powerful, it’s not so easy to get to him. “How’d it happen?”

“That’s the strange thing,” the Chief shook his head, “the guy was found in his own bed, in his P.J.s for crissake.”

“Why is that strange?”

“Because he had a bullet through his head.”

That surprised me. The Winthrop mansion is loaded with security — guards, alarms, trip wires, all the good stuff. What kind of killer could get in, ice the head guy, and then get out again, all undetected? Who the hell were we dealing with here?

I could tell the Chief was thinking along the same lines. It looked like there might be a new player in town, one who didn’t play fair.

As I made my way back to my office, I thought back to the first time I’d met Winthrop, a few years ago. By then the guy was already at the top of his game. I been summoned to the mansion because he’d heard I had a nose for danger. Wanted me to track down one of his runners who’d been dumb enough to start dipping off the top.

It was a really classy place — curving stairs, crystal chandeliers, fancy chairs lifted from the old court of some French king. That didn’t bother me. It’s not like the poor bastard would be needing them anymore.

It was kind of hard to face up to a guy like Winthrop, in a place like that, and say no to his face. But I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. I knew all too well what they’d have done to that runner if I’d tracked him down. I shuddered just thinking about it. If he was lucky, they would show him some mercy — kill him fast and got it over with. But I also knew Winthrop wasn’t the kind of guy to show any mercy.

After that, Winthrop pretty much left me alone. I’d like to think he respected my principles. More likely, now that he had me figured, he thought an honest elephant could be useful some day.

I was still thinking all this when Rebecca showed up at the door. I took one look at her face and I could tell she’d been crying. I gestured for her to take a seat.

After she’d gotten herself together, she just squared her shoulders and fixed me an intent look. “Mr. Smellephant, I think my sister may have done something awful.”

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