some of the edge off the blow. The glass shattered, and the man fell in a heap. Lean bent down to make sure he was breathing. A trickle of blood appeared on his scalp where a lump was already swelling. Lean stood and straightened his coat. He reached up to fix his bow tie and felt one end ripped clear through. He remembered the tearing sound when Welch had cut at him. “Damn it.” He was tempted to go through the man’s pockets and find the fifty cents it would cost to replace the tie. Then again, Welch had paid his share many times over today. Lean hoped that the man’s friends, when they found him unconscious, would leave him enough change to at least buy a drink when he came to.
[ Chapter 7 ] A RCHIE L EAN TOSSED THE FOLDER ASIDE ON HIS DESK . I T didn’t hold the answer he was looking for. The thought had occurred to him that he was reading too much into the removal of Cosgrove’s body from its plot in Evergreen Cemetery. The explanation could be a simpler one than the occult imagery at the scene tried to indicate. Digging up bodies wasn’t unheard-of. The crimes of so-called resurrection men, who sold freshly buried corpses to hospitals or anatomists, were largely a thing of decades past. Still, it happened once in a while. Maybe someone had gotten hold of the body, run into trouble, and decided to simply ditch it at Vine Street and cover his tracks. The folder held the details on all such cases in the last five years. There had been a string of incidents at Evergreen three summers ago. The two men responsible were caught and were both currently in jail on other charges. There’d been another incident last fall in the Eastern Cemetery. No one was ever arrested in that case, but the two disturbed graves there were very old and the bodies, useless to any medical practitioner, had been left in the coffins. The whole thing was put down to a lot of work by criminals hoping to find a bit of interred gold or jewelry. In any event, those records showed no promise of any connection to the current inquiry. Lean pushed those thoughts aside, gathered his hat, and exited the police station from its basement home in City Hall, emerging from the side doors onto Myrtle Street. He rounded one of the building’s square corner towers and crossed Congress Street, then strolled down Market amid a light stream of foot traffic. The lower section of the block was occupied by an elegant building of white Vermont marble that housed Portland’s post office on the ground floor and various court offices above. The sight of Perceval Grey leaning against a carriage with a newspaper in front of his face surprised Lean. As heapproached, he realized that Grey wasn’t actually reading the paper. His eyes were aimed just over the top edge, focused on something inside one of the tall, arched windows that lined the entire side of the post office. Lean threw an inconspicuous glance inside. There were a few people milling about at a bank of small post-office boxes. He surmised that Grey was studying a middle-aged man in a tan coat and matching gloves. The man held a cane, with which he was casually tapping several of the doors to the wooden boxes. “I thought we were meeting at Mitchell’s Restaurant.” “You’re early,” Grey said, without looking at Lean. “Are you watching out of mere curiosity, or is it a professional interest?” “Professional.” “What’s the man doing?” Lean asked. “Sending a signal, I believe. What it is and to whom, I cannot yet say.” Grey folded his newspaper and turned away from the window. Lean glanced over his shoulder and saw the man with the cane was walking toward the front of the post office. “Well, I won’t delay you. I assume you mean to follow the man.” “Unnecessary. He’s revealed all that he will on this day.” Grey finally looked Lean in the face. His eyes dropped for a second to Lean’s neck and his shredded bow tie. “I hope you’re not trying to start some new