Swing, Brother, Swing: Roderick Alleyn #15 (Inspectr Roderick Alleyn)
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Lord Pastern and Baggot is a classic English eccentric, given to passionate, peculiar enthusiasms. His latest? Drumming in a jazz band. His wife is not amused, and even less so when her daughter falls hard for Carlos Rivera, the band’s sleazy piano player. Aside from the young woman, nobody likes Rivera very much, so there’s a wealth of suspects when he is shot in during a performance. Happily, Inspector Alleyn is in the audience.
away and glanced at Breezy. ‘OK,’ he said. ‘What are we waiting for?’ He began to heighten the tension of his drums. ‘Good luck to the new act,’ he said, and the drums throbbed. ‘Thanks, Syd,’ said Breezy. His fingers were in his waistcoat pocket. He looked anxiously at Skelton. He felt in one pocket after another. Sweat hung in fine beads over his eyebrows. ‘What’s up, boy?’ said Happy Hart. ‘I can’t find my tablet.’ He began pulling his pocket linings out. ‘I’m all to pieces without it,’
This little idea he’s got about putting it across is quite a notion, boys. In its way. It seems Lord Pastern’s got round to thinking he might go places as a soloist with this number. You know. A spot of hot drumming and loosing off a six-shooter.’ ‘For chrissake!’ the tympanist said idly. ‘The idea is that Carlos steps out in a spotlight and gives. Hot and crazy, Carlos. Burning the air. Sky the limit.’ Mr Rivera passed the palm of his hand over his hair. ‘Very well. And then?’ ‘Lord
for latent prints,’ Fox said. ‘Yes, of course. We can’t disturb it. Later on it can be dismembered, but on looks, Fox, we’ve got something.’ Alleyn held the ivory handle beside the stiletto. ‘I’ll swear they belong,’ he said, and put it down. ‘Here’s exhibit C. An empty gun-oil bottle. Where’s that cork?’ Fox produced it. ‘It fits,’ he said. ‘I’ve tried. It fits and it has the same stink. Though why the hell it should turn up on the bandstand…’ ‘Ah, me,’ Alleyn said. ‘Why the hell indeed?
led you back to Duke’s Gate and more particularly, to playing that old antic’s boogie-woogie on the piano.’ Fox smiled in a stately manner. ‘Well, sir,’ he said, ‘as to what brought me, it was a bit of stale information, and another bit that’s not so stale. Skelton rang up after you left, to say he had inspected his lordship’s revolver the second time and was sorry he hadn’t mentioned it last night. He said that he and our Mr Eton-and-Oxford Detective-Sergeant Sallis got into a discussion about
are going to listen.’ Lord Pastern folded his arms tightly across his chest, rested his chin on his tie and screwed up his eyes. Alleyn took a folded typescript from his breast pocket, opened it and crossed his knees. ‘This statement was prepared,’ he said, ‘on the assumption that you are the man who calls himself G.P. Friend and writes the articles signed GPF in Harmony. It is a statement of what we believe to be fact and doesn’t concern itself over-much with motive. I, however, will deal