Blackstone and the Wolf of Wall Street

BOOK: Blackstone and the Wolf of Wall Street
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Recent Titles by Sally Spencer from Severn House
THE BUTCHER BEYOND
DANGEROUS GAMES
THE DARK LADY
THE DEAD HAND OF HISTORY
DEATH OF A CAVE DWELLER
DEATH OF AN INNOCENT
A DEATH LEFT HANGING
DEATH WATCH
DYING IN THE DARK
A DYING FALL
THE ENEMY WITHIN
FATAL QUEST
GOLDEN MILE TO MURDER
A LONG TIME DEAD
MURDER AT SWANN'S LAKE
THE PARADISE JOB
THE RED HERRING
THE RING OF DEATH
THE SALTON KILLINGS
SINS OF THE FATHERS
STONE KILLER
THE WITCH MAKER
The Inspector Sam Blackstone Series
RENDEZVOUS WITH DEATH
BLACKSTONE AND THE TIGER
BLACKSTONE AND THE GOLDEN EGG
BLACKSTONE AND THE FIRE BUG
BLACKSTONE AND THE BALLOON OF DEATH
BLACKSTONE AND THE HEART OF DARKNESS
BLACKSTONE AND THE NEW WORLD
BLACKSTONE AND THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
BLACKSTONE AND THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
Sally Spencer
This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
 
First world edition published 2010
in Great Britain and in the USA by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
9–15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.
Copyright © 2010 by Alan Rustage.
All rights reserved.
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Spencer, Sally.
Blackstone and the Wolf of Wall Street. – (The Inspector
Sam Blackstone series)
1. Blackstone, Sam (Fictitious character) – Fiction.
2. Police – New York (State) – New York – Fiction.
3. Millionaires – Crimes against – Fiction. 4. Kidnapping
victims – Fiction. 5. Coney Island (New York, N.Y.) –
Social conditions – Fiction. 6. Detective and mystery stories.
I. Title II. Series
823.9′14-dc22
ISBN-13: 978-1-78010-047-0 (ePub)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-6916-6 (cased)
ISBN-13: 978-1-84751-262-8 (trade paper)
Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.
This ebook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
PROLOGUE
Manhattan, February 1893
T
hough he was desperate to complete his mission before he lost his nerve, Knox forced himself to take only small, careful steps as he made his way slowly along Fifth Avenue.
There was good reason for this caution. The weak sun had struggled to bring a little cheer into the shivering city during the day, but the second it had been vanquished over the horizon, the pitiless winter had returned with a vengeance.
Now, the sun's pale warmth seemed no more than a distant memory – a rumour that, once, times had been better. Now, frost clung mockingly to the lamp posts and patches of black ice began to form across the sidewalk.
Black ice!
Damn it to hell.
You couldn't see it, because it was almost transparent.
You couldn't guess where it might be, because it did not spread itself evenly, but instead chose to lurk in isolated spots, waiting with malevolent patience for the unsuspecting foot to fall on it.
And there was black ice lurking, too, on the journey that is our lives, Knox thought bitterly. Take a wrong step on
that
journey – make just one little misjudgement – and instead of advancing, you were lying on the ground, bruised and battered.
He himself had stepped on black ice, and that particular sheet of it had been called William Holt, who hadn't looked dangerous and had given no warning of what he might do.
It just didn't seem fair!
Knox reached into his overcoat pocket, and felt the reassuring handle of the revolver he had bought earlier that day.
‘It's going to happen,' he reassured himself. ‘I'm going to do it!'
But he mustn't slip and fall, because, if he did, he knew that it would probably be enough to shake his resolve – to convince him that men like him simply did not take their revenge in this way.
He was still finding it hard to believe that everything had collapsed so quickly around him.
Only two months earlier – as recently as
Christmas
! – he had been regarded by almost everyone who mattered in New York as one of the city's great successes.
He had noticed people pointing him out in expensive restaurants, and had found it easy enough to imagine what they were saying.
‘
That's Edward Knox. You'd never think it to look at him, but he's worth millions of dollars.
'
And now?
Now, it was all over. His house had been foreclosed. He could no longer afford to pay for his sons to attend their expensive college. His wife had left him.
He was finished.
He was resigned to that.
He accepted he would never be able to dredge up the energy to start again from scratch, and though he was still walking – albeit timidly – he was already as good as dead.
But before he finally lay down, he'd promised himself, he would make one last attempt to see that justice was done.
He had reached his destination, a large house close to St Patrick's Cathedral, which – like all the other houses around it – was in complete darkness. He walked around the side of the building to the tradesman's entrance, and tapped softly on the door.
Though the Holt mansion had electric light throughout, unlike most of the private dwellings in the city, the woman who opened the door was carrying a small kerosene lantern in her hand.
‘It's safer this way,' she whispered.
She led him into the kitchen, and placed the lantern on the table.
He examined her in the flickering light. She was in her late twenties – he knew that for a fact – and a few years earlier she had been a very pretty little thing. But time had not been kind to her. Now she could have been taken for at least ten years older than her actual age.
‘Have you got the money?' she hissed urgently.
He nodded. ‘Right here,' he said, reaching into his pocket and taking out a brown envelope.
She grabbed the envelope from him, ripped it open without ceremony, and began counting the bills on the table.
‘It's all there,' he promised her.
And so it was. Some people might have considered him foolish to hand over the last of his savings to this woman, but he had no doubts on the matter. As far as he was concerned, it was the best thousand dollars he had ever spent.
The woman had finished counting.
‘I'm not doing this for the money,' she said.
‘Then give it back to me!' he said harshly – and instantly felt guilty.
‘I can't give it back,' the woman said. ‘I need it to get away from here –
but that's not why I'm doing this
.'
‘I know, Margaret,' he told her.
‘I was only supposed to be his secretary,' the woman said. ‘I was supposed to do no more than take shorthand and typewrite his letters. I was good at it. That should have been enough for him. But it wasn't.'
‘I know,' Knox said for a second time.
‘He didn't use physical force to get me into his bed—' Margaret Wilkins continued.
‘I don't really need to know the details,' Knox said, uncomfortably.
‘. . . but if it wasn't rape, it was certainly as good as.'
‘There's no point in dwelling on the past,' advised Knox, who found himself doing little else now.
‘But even though I didn't ever
want
him to sleep with me, it still hurt that he'd only make use of me when there wasn't some other woman within easy reach.'
‘He's a bastard,' Knox said, though he never usually swore in the presence of ladies. ‘We both know that. That's why I'm here and why you're letting me into the house.'
‘Yes, that's why you're here and why I'm letting you into the house,' Margaret Wilkins repeated dully.
‘Where is he?'
‘In his study. He always works late into the night.'
‘And is there anyone else around?'
‘No, the rest of them went to bed at least an hour ago.'
‘Then let's get it over with,' Knox suggested.
Carrying her lantern in front of her, Margaret Wilkins led him through a maze of corridors to the servants' stairs, and then up to the first floor. Here, the corridors – designed for use by family and friends, rather than just as a passageway for mere domestics – were wider and more impressive.
The woman came to a stop in front of a solid teak door.
‘He's in there,' she whispered.
‘Will the door be locked?'
‘No, it's never locked. He wouldn't even dream that anyone would dare to enter without his permission.'
Knox let his fingers brush against the butt of his revolver.
‘You'd better go now.'
Margaret Wilkins shook her head. ‘I want to stay. I want to see it happen.'
‘Don't be a fool,' Knox hissed back. ‘Go now, and you can say you knew nothing of what went on. Stay, and you'll be as guilty as I am.'
‘I don't care,' the woman said stubbornly.
‘Take the money I've given you and start a new life,' he urged her.
For a second, it looked as if she would refuse again. Then she gave a brief nod, turned, and hurried down the corridor. Soon, she was no more than a faint island of retreating light, and he was left in the darkness.
With one hand he reached into his pocket and grasped his revolver. With the other he groped for the door handle, and – once he had found it – gave it a sharp turn and pushed the door open.
The electric light inside the room blinded him, but only for a moment, then his eyes adjusted and he saw Big Bill Holt sitting at his desk. Holt was still wearing the tuxedo he must have put on for dinner, and there was a faraway – almost ecstatic – look in his eyes. At first, he did not even seem to notice that someone had entered the room, but when that fact registered, the eyes blazed with anger.
‘What the hell are you doing here?' he demanded.
Knox advanced further into the centre of the room. ‘You cheated me,' he said. ‘You took all my money – and you
cheated
me.'
Holt shrugged his massive shoulders. ‘Nobody cheated you. You went into a business where you could either have made or lost money – and you lost it.'
‘But
you
didn't lose, did you?' Knox demanded, aware that a hysterical note was creeping into his voice.
BOOK: Blackstone and the Wolf of Wall Street
6.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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