I could tell that Blake was simply a pro at his job, this guy Brown, well, he was sleazy slick, cold to the core.
After a moment's cordiality, "Inspector MacKenzie, maybe we might be more comfortable in my office. Buster, (apparently Mr. Blake's yet unconfessed call name) I'll see to the good Inspector's needs."
I felt hustled and when I feel hustled I feel insulted. But I went, letting this high-priced hustler take some line, hoping that at the end of it I might set the hook deep. His filled my ears with a blur of blather as I kept nodding, fully realizing that he was the kind who tried to keep from telling you anything by talking about nothing, endlessly. That hallway and the left turn down the next hallway seemed to go on forever. Mercy did come and a gal named Delores smiled at us both with a rather feeble effort.
"Delores, coffee for Officer MacKenzie and me. Officer, I take mine black and you."
I nodded, "The same for me." Then he ushered me into his inner sanctum, a surprisingly large expanse of well-heeled and high-class extravagance, guiding my fanny into one of four ox-blood leather chairs that surrounded his desk. He took his seat in his office throne. "Gawd, this guy is an arrogant sonufabi..." An idiosyncrisy of mine is that I pay respect to my saintly mother by not finishing my cuss words and I'm not sure why, but I do.
"Tell me, Mr. MacKenzie, what can I do for you? I'm here to help."
Behind this Mr. Brown was a stately portrait of distinguished gentleman seated in the midst of a law library. The brass plate on the frame read, "L.J. Brown, Senior-Founding Partner." "Ah, now it made sense ... here before me sat Junior. This guy was in this corner office because Daddy had put him in it. It's a sad thing when a breeding line begins to deteriorate."
Returning to his question, "Well, Mr. Brown, last night we found the bound of a young lady and she had in her possession one of your firm's business cards. And we were wondering if she might have either worked here and or was a client of your law firm."
He didn't blink, not one quiver or false move of a finger, not one flex of the iris of his murky brown eyes. This guy was the reason some writer came up with the words, "he had ice water in his veins." He simply uttred, "I will certainly check our records. Her name?"
After scratching her name on a white legal pad with his black and polished Montblanc, Delores and the coffee arrived and we talked about nothing for a few minutes and then the intercom came to life on cue, "Mr. Brown, time for your partner meeting."
As he stood to signal my time was up, he reached for my hand and gave me the old good-bye, "Please check with Delores tomorrow. I leave what I can find out with her. Delores! Please give the Inspector one of my cigars!"
With my lips I said, "Thank you. Mr. Brown. We'd appreciate all the help you can give us." With my thoughts, I looked into his eyes, "You are somehow right in the dirt with this Miss Yellow Roses, I can feel it. No, more than that, I can smell it."
As we walked to the front lobby, Delores and me, I could tell she had been with the firm a long, long time, possibly the old man's secretary. She handed me a small, wooden box with a dark brown and antiqued silver seal bearing the logos of the firm, a monogram of a wildly florid BK interlaced with each other, leaning against a noble looking lion with a paw resting on a globe.
As I left, Mrs. Devonshire gave me another one of those looks that invited me to search her out in a different place and time.