It was 7:30 Saturday night when Pierce Hale accompanied Club Dalia's back. Sitting at a mahogany table, pouring from a thin, thin green bottle and leaning back occasionally to blow smoke rings, Pierce waited patiently for his dinner date. It was 1945 in Miami in South & # 39; Beach & # 39 ;. Tropical plants adorned the room which was located in front of the large open arches leading to a rooftop ballroom. Blue-and-white light from the hotel sign across the street was leaping faithfully from the wall, cigarette smoke filled the room and sirens were shouting in the streets below. They shouted, but not as often as Pierce got used to him while working as a detective for the Boston Police Department's homicide.
Police Chief Davin Lafort tried to make him stay unsuccessful, and it had only been a few months since Forres retired from his job in Boston, where he served for twenty years without being transported. He enjoyed the dark nights in a difficult city, and he missed the days of chasing bad guys without having to fill out all the paperwork. Endless paperwork is tedious. That was the main difference between his role in Boston and becoming the owner of his Miami-based investigative agency, the paperwork never ending. Yes, there were times when he managed to take to the streets alongside Johnny Bettini, a mid-1920s scholar who worked for him, but mostly he was stuck in the old brick office he rented on the second floor of a wild building. In central Miami.
He did not retire early so that he could fulfill his dream of holding his own investigative office, though he often convinced himself that was the reason. Pierce Hale retired so he could be closer to the woman who was just led by the goalie. She wore a black felt hat, a long black skirt with a red floral print blouse, a glossy red lipstick and black peep toe shoes. Pierce's jaw dropped. He had known her for five years and his jaw always dropped.
"Elizabeth!" Pierce exclaimed as he swung his fedora over his head, "I'm here!"
Elizabeth Booth was the most beautiful and intelligent woman he had ever met, and she did not look like most 53-year-old women at the time. Somehow all the stress that came with those years did not age as much as most women did. There were no wrinkles under her eyes, and her skin tone made her look younger at 15 and even 20 years. She stood about six feet and weighed fifteen dollars.
Elizabeth strolled to Pierce, heels moving almost percussively on the heavy wooden floor as she approached.
"I don't think I've been here since 1942, and it pretty much falls to pieces," Elizabeth said as she moved a half-empty glass of beer.
"Don't be silly Elizabeth. We had drinks here less than six months ago when I told you I was retiring," replied Pierce.
"That's probably true. Still, I don't understand how in 1945 those places still don't treat them," she said as she bent down and gave Pierce a kiss on his cheek. "How are you, Pierce?"
"Oh, I'm doing much better than I was a few minutes ago, now that you've performed," Pierce said, trying not to look excited to see her.
The truth was that Pierce had a lot on his mind today. A disturbing case was brought to him by Johnny Bettini, who seemed stunned by all the works placed on his desk.
"Actually," Pierce continued, "I struggle in case my happy assistant is too happy for him. In the past two weeks, two women have been killed near Winter Beach. They were on their honeymoon with their husbands not looking at all."
Elizabeth could tell when Pierce was just making a call and when he was really struggling with the case. The salt mustache and pepper he always carried seemed to squeeze just a little more when he encountered work problems.
"It reminds me of a case I had in Boston in 1940 when three teenage boys all drowned in the same spot in Burton Harbor. None of the boys had anything to do with them except their age. They were involved, and no one could find any clues. Himself because he feels so guilty. It turned out that he was cut short because of his childhood and that it should be spent on someone who really enjoyed his youth. "
Pierce paused for a moment, hoping that Elizabeth would provide some encouragement, which she always did.
"So you think it could be some kind of random violence targeting the newlyweds?" She replied.
"Exactly, the only problem is that I have no idea where to start looking for this guy. In both cases, the owners left their hotel for a few minutes, and when their wives returned they were shot in the back with a caliber of 22. There was certainly no evidence left. No fingerprints, no identification "Nothing," Pierce informed her.
"Where exactly did all this happen, Pierce?" Elizabeth asked, curiously.
It took Pierce a minute to remember the names of the two hotels where the murders took place. This was mainly because Pierce settled into the long, turbulent strand of dark hair that fell out of place and dangled perfectly over Elizabeth's bright eyes. That brought him back to the day they met in a passenger ship from New York's port in the late 1930s.
"One was at the Mangrove Inn, the other at the Hurricane Hotel," Pierce answered the question, after recalling what the conversation was about. "Why are you asking this?" He continued.
"I know most hotel owners in winter and winter," Elizabeth replied. "In truth, Lisa Porter owns the two hotels you just mentioned. Have you talked to her yet?"
Pierce shook his head. He was unable to contact Mrs. Porter, though not because of inexperience. Whenever he turned the dial on the phone to call her, he would not hear but ring on the other side.
"She seems to be out of town, and I have no way to contact her," Pierce said. "How come you own two hotels that are the scene of two different homicides, and you don't make yourself available to the local police."
"Well, maybe you're just not trying enough Pierce," Elizabeth said, with a sly smile on her face. "Stop by my office tomorrow at 1:30 and I'll get her on the phone for you."
Pierce was not the kind of person who would rely on others to achieve what they promised, but he always knew that Elizabeth could be trusted. In addition, she had connections with almost everyone in South Florida.
As this conversation nears its end, Pierce and Elizabeth spent the rest of the evening catching up on everything from their favorite movies, some post-war politics and news.
The next day, at exactly 1:20, Pierce Hall arrived at the local college where Elizabeth Booth was an English professor. As Pierce entered Elizabeth's office, he noticed how easy it was for him to pass through security and find her office. It was much different than the first time she visited Elizabeth in her apartment. It was impossible to navigate confidently in South Beach during the war, especially where Elizabeth lived. Not only were the streets lined with police officers, but military uniforms were found in most corners near the neighborhood.
As Pierce entered Elizabeth's office, he began to say something but noticed that she was on the phone.
"Here he is Lisa, he just came in. I'll pass him the phone and I'm sure he has some questions for you," Elizabeth said on the phone. She went on, handed the phone to Pierce, "This is Lisa Porter, the hotel owner you told me last night. She was staying at her beach house in Carolina, but I managed to find her phone number from a colleague of mine."
"Hello Mrs. Porter, how are you?"
"Well, Mr. Hale, I would have done much better if I had known that my investments were a site of two homicides. When I heard about the police appearing and rediscovering my hotel, I just couldn't imagine what it would look like when I came back!" The second of the phone. Pierce could hardly stand and listened to the brightest and loudest voice Mrs. Porter had.
"I'm sorry for all this hassle Mrs. Porter, but I was wondering if you could give us some help. Do you have any idea who it could be? Anyone with access to rooms in your two hotels?" "
"The only person who has access to both of my hotels is the cleaning boy," Lisa replied, "Well, he's not really a kid. Skip Daniels is his name. He's 35 and awful. It's strange. But he does leave those rooms lit up."
After several more minutes of conversation, Pierce gathered contact information for skipping Daniels and thanked Mrs. Porter for her help. Pierce then thanked Elizabeth and told her he was going to look for the cleaning. Pierce and Elizabeth argued over the next few minutes that Elizabeth felt she would be needed on this mission and Pierce never liked to endanger women, especially Elizabeth. However, as usual, Elizabeth won the argument and they headed to the town of Skip Daniels in the 1938 Pier Dodge & Coupe.
When they arrived at the rebel complex, which appeared to be part of the bombing in Nazi Germany, Pierce and Elizabeth walked to door number 5, the apartment where Skip Daniels lived.
Pierce knocked hard on the old wooden door for a few minutes without replying.
"Just break it down, Pierce," Elizabeth said emphatically. And with that, she kicked the door as hard as she could, removing it from its hinges.
"I guess that's the way to deal with it," Pierce said, slightly surprised by her power.
As they moved into the apartment, Pierce made sure his .38 police gun was within reach. He didn't notice it, but Elizabeth made another way in the kitchen as Pierce headed for the bedroom.
The apartment seemed empty until Pierce entered the busy bedroom. Black and white photos of beautiful women upholstered the cracked walls of the bedroom. Pierce is almost disgusted by a number of posters. On each of them is written a note that seems to convey love from a disturbed man. As Pierce continued on his way to the bedroom, he heard someone breathing from the closet. Pierce opened the closet and saw a man, only his boxer shorts covered, huddled in the corner.
"Skip Daniels, I guess?" Pierce asked.
"You have nothing on me!" The man shouted. "You don't know me! You don't know what I went through! These men don't deserve to keep these women alive!"
Then, without warning, Daniels jumped at Pierce Hall and grabbed his pistol from his vagina. A brawl ensued where the rifle dropped. Pierce always managed to deal with offenders in the past, but his body began to age. He held a right hook in his left eye and immediately felt his bones crack.
At that moment he heard Elizabeth screaming, "Get off him! Get off him! You go slush! Get down or I'll light!"
Pierce never saw Elizabeth holding a weapon, but she seemed to know how to use it. Apparently she heard the fight that was going on and wanted to help Pierce. Seeing the gun lying on the floor, she picked it up and took control of the situation.
When local police transferred Skipping Daniels to trial, Pierce was able to gather much information about the man's history in his apartment. It seems Skip recently proposed to his old girlfriend, just be put off. Apparently she was cheating on him with another man and Skip felt he had lost what was right for him.
"I guess he'll be leaving for a long time," said Pierce, exhausted by the day of excitement.
"Yes, and you should admit to being alive," Elizabeth informed him matter-of-factly.
"You know, Elizabeth Booth, you would do a pretty good private eye and your resistance is futile!"
And with the words said, Pierce escorted Elizabeth to his car and took her home. Little did he know that this would be the first of many cases where he would rely on Elizabeth Booth to help the perpetrator.