Shoot to Kill

Shoot to Kill by Brett Halliday Read Free Book Online

Book: Shoot to Kill by Brett Halliday Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brett Halliday
reason we should stand on ceremony. We’ll all have to give statements to the police when they arrive, but I don’t think a drink will hurt any of us. I’m Michael Shayne, by the way.”
    One of the men stepped forward with hand outstretched. He was tall and in his forties, with a deeply lined face and an engagingly diffident smile. He said, “I felt I recognized you when you sprinted past me while I was lying on the floor a few minutes ago. I’ve seen your pictures in the papers, Mr. Shayne. I’m Mark Ames. Wesley’s brother.” His handshake was surprisingly warm and strong. “If I had reacted more effectively, my brother would still be alive,” he said ruefully. “But I was bowled over, you might say, and I was that, literally, when that young man burst into the room waving a pistol in his hand and with murder in his eye. I tried to stop him, but…” He shrugged expressively. “I wasn’t very good at football even in college.”
    “I’m completely in the dark about all this,” the pudgy, round-faced man standing behind Mark Ames declared unhappily. The strong odor of whiskey came from him and his eyes were bloodshot behind rimless glasses which were settled firmly on his bulbous nose. “I was upstairs resting in my room waiting for Alfred to bring me a drink when I heard all this commotion downstairs and then in the hallway. A shocking affair. Disgraceful,” he told Shayne firmly. “Citizens shot down in cold blood in the privacy of their own homes. A commonplace in Miami, no doubt. Certainly it would not be countenanced in a civilized community. I am told you are a detective, Mr. Shayne. Who is that vicious young murderer across the room?”
    Shayne said gravely, “His name is Ralph Larson. What’s yours, by the way?”
    “This is Mr. Sutter, Shayne,” interposed Mark Ames quickly. “An attorney from New York City. He flew down this afternoon to consult Wesley on some legal matter and I’m afraid he’s gotten a poor idea of our mores here in Miami.”
    “There have been murders committed in New York, I believe,” Shayne commented drily. He turned away as Alfred got to his feet with his burden of broken glass and scurried toward the rear, presumably in the direction of the kitchen.
    The outer door opened and Patrolman Powers stepped inside. He looked around the living room and at the five men in some surprise to see them there, and announced loudly, “The Homicide Squad is on the way. Everyone is to stay put until they get here.”
    “You stay down there, Powers, and keep an eye on them and see that they don’t get their heads together and make up any stories,” came Griffin’s voice booming down from the head of the stairs. “I’m standing guard at the scene of the crime to see that nothing is touched… the way it says in Regulations.”
    Powers called back loudly, “Yes, sir. I’ll see to it.” He stood with his back against the door and his thumbs hooked inside his pistol-belt, and looked them over sternly. “Just take it easy the way Officer Griffin says,” he advised them. “That way, everything will go smooth and we won’t have any trouble.”
    Shayne grinned at him and then crossed the wide room to the settee where Timothy Rourke was seated beside Larson. The younger man sat bolt upright and defiant. He asked bitterly, “What’s all this silly rigmarole about? I killed Ames, goddamnit. He deserved killing and I’m glad he’s dead. So why in hell don’t they put the handcuffs on me and take me off to jail?”
    “There’s a certain protocol to be followed,” Shayne told him. “Take it easy. You’ll end up in jail all right. In the meantime, relax. This is probably the last drink you’ll have for a good long time,” he added as Alfred reentered the room stiffly carrying his silver tray with a pitcher of ice cubes and a carafe of water and an assortment of unbroken glasses on it, in addition to the two bottles of liquor which Alfred had retrieved unharmed from the

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