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Authors: Leslie Glass

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Hanging Time

BOOK: Hanging Time
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Several very disturbing people had their reasons to persuade Maggie Wheeler to open the door of her shop and then savagely murder her. One of them has disappeared. Another confesses. But faced with a corpse hanging from a chandelier, April Woo isn’t buying the story.

When another girl dies in exactly the same way across town, April gets a call from psychoanalyst Jason Frank about a strange man who keeps a sick woman in restraints and might like to dress up in her clothes, and two angry sisters with a very ugly past. Jason and April race to find a vicious killer before another young woman is found dangling.…

“Fine psychodrama. Glass walks on the

The Poisoned Pen


“Complex insights … Deft plotting and strong characterization will leave readers eager for further installments.”

—Library Journal

Also by Leslie Glass



This edition contains the complete text of the original hardcover edition.


A Bantam Book


Bantam hardcover edition published October 1995
Bantam paperback edition / October 1996


All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1995 by Leslie Glass.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 94-27275
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
For information address: Bantam Books.


eISBN: 978-0-307-78539-8


Bantam Books are published by Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Its trademark, consisting of the words “Bantam Books” and the portrayal of a rooster, is Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and in other countries. Marca Registrada. Bantam Books, New York, New York.



For Charlotte
and in loving memory of
Harrison Salisbury


And lovelier things have mercy shown
To every failing but their own;
And every woe a tear can claim
Except an erring sister’s shame



I want to thank everyone at Bantam Books who wanted this author. Irwyn Applebaum, Nita Taublib, my editor Kate Miciak, Jamie Warren-Youll, Linda Biagi. And others in publicity and sales whose names I don’t know. Years ago, when Bantam was showing the world a whole new way of packaging books, I worked there as a copywriter. It was at Bantam that I first thought I might try to write a novel. No one I knew then is there now, and publishing is no longer a small, gentlemanly, family business. But some things I experienced in the old Bantam are still there: teamwork; a fierce fighting competitive spirit that I fervently hope will never die; and the love of books as well, occasionally, as of those who write them. Thank you, Bantam, for having me back.

Even in fields such as journalism and science, where a person ought to be able to count on a few solid facts, there is very little absolute truth. With no apologies, the novelist tries for the best view of a relative truth. Those who guide her in her studies toward that end are precious and deeply appreciated. Perpetual thanks to Dr. Richard C. Friedman, my psychology professor and consultant on human behavior. Thanks to Arthur Goldman, D.D.S., odontologist and former President of the American Academy of Forensic Science. Thank you, Acting Dean Lawrence Kobilinsky, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Thank you, Nick Petracco, dust and fiber expert, and Captain George Cockburn for details and corrections. Thanks to Thomas Lacalamita, computer expert, for his recovery skills.

And always first and last: thank you, Lindsey, for the trip, thank you, Alex, for growing up. Thank you, Sarah Jane Freyman, my agent, for waiting so long. Thank you, Edmund, for the photo ops.


t was the dog that caught Maggie Wheeler’s eye and ended her life. If it hadn’t been the cutest dog she’d ever seen, she wouldn’t have spoken to the woman. The very last thing she intended was to smile, pull the latch, and open the door for another customer. At six minutes past seven on a hot August Saturday night the cutesy boutique called The Last Mango was closed. Maggie was finally tidying up after a long, exhausting day that started badly at ten when Olga Yerger, the other salesgirl, didn’t show up and never called to say why. Maggie figured Olga had met some guy and taken off for the weekend. It wouldn’t be the first time. Olga was a blond beauty from one of the Scandinavian countries, who was in New York to find a rich guy to marry. Even when she was in the store she didn’t do much work. And now Maggie couldn’t find the store keys. If she left without the keys, her boss, Elsbeth Manganaro, would kill her. Maggie just couldn’t imagine what she had done with them. They were always right there, either on the counter or in the drawer. Shit.

Maggie wasn’t feeling good about the human race. Her legs ached from running up and down the tight circular staircase all day, attempting to please difficult customers who wanted to try on more expensive originals than could be displayed in the tiny showroom downstairs. The staircase to the loft storeroom was so narrow it caught the sides of hangers and sleeves, and Maggie’s arms and elbows, too. She had a number of bruises. In addition, in the great long-ago of last winter, the owner of the store had enticed her
into taking the job by promising Maggie she would never have to work on Saturdays in August.

“The Last Mango will always be closed on weekends in August,” Elsbeth had said vehemently, clutching a fox coat around her shoulders even though the heat was on high in the boutique. “My customers and my girls always go away Friday nights.”

Mrs. Manganaro wore many noisy accessories with her skirts and blouses, had the strangest hair color Maggie had ever seen, and made it seem as if she and the salesgirls were all so well off they didn’t need to work.

“Call me Elsbeth,” she had said. “I like close relationships.”

Well, she lied about weekends off in summer, and a few other things, too. Maggie’s mouth soured as she remembered. Nothing was going well for her just then. She wouldn’t mind taking off for a weekend to think things over. She looked around to see what else needed to be done before she could get out of there.

The store was attractive in a spare, trendy kind of way. But nothing was efficient about it. The space was cramped. The display area for clothes was not nearly big enough. Maggie had to keep running up and down the circular staircase to the storeroom upstairs to show the stock, and then to put the rejects away.

The good things were the store was on Columbus Avenue near where she lived, and the owner was lazy, let her do almost everything. Maggie figured she was learning a lot. Hurriedly, she folded the last of the gauzy, wildly colored printed skirts and glittering hundred-dollar T-shirts, sequin-studded with the stars and stripes and other stirring symbols on them. All afternoon she had kept hoping Olga would find it in her hard foreign heart to turn up after all and cover for her so she could go out for something to eat. But Olga never did.

Maggie didn’t dare close the boutique on her own, in case Elsbeth came by to check up on her. She was more than a little afraid of Elsbeth. Her boss was a fiftyish shrew with so much blue in her red dye job, her hair was almost purple. Elsbeth wore glasses in the shape of wings that magnified
the deep wrinkles and puckers around her eyes, and she drew her lips on way over the natural line. She was the epitome of the tightfisted, bullying employer who used the fat settlements from her various marriages and divorces to buy buildings and set herself up in small businesses.

Maggie was a birdlike person with blunt-cut short brown hair and a nose and chin too sharp for her tiny face. She was from the little town of Seekonk, Massachusetts, and frightened easily. It never occurred to her that ordering out was a legitimate way of getting food even though she saw other people doing it all the time. She was afraid of delivery boys and a lot of other things. People were always telling her to relax and smile more, but neither came naturally. Maggie was a mournful sort of person, now very hungry and anxious about losing her job when everything was such a mess in her life.

The sudden awareness of sharp tapping on glass made her look up. Peering at her through the window, a would-be customer had been knocking on the door for some minutes. There was a “closed” sign right in the middle of it that no one could miss seeing.

Maggie shook her head at how stupid people could be sometimes. Quickly folding the last of the T-shirts, she looked up and mouthed the word “closed,” gesturing to the sign.

As she pointed to it, Maggie caught sight of the small poodle. The dog was in a canvas bag slung over the shoulder of the would-be buyer. All that could be seen of it was its curly head and neck. At first glance it almost looked like a baby lamb. But then Maggie saw it had soft ears and an enchanting pointed muzzle with a bit of a mustache at the end. It turned its head this way and that, trying to take in everything, eyes extraordinarily bright.

“Oh.” A little gasp of delight escaped Maggie’s heretofore tightly pursed lips.

Her feeling of betrayal at being left alone all day, and her disapproval at the banging on the locked door, eased instantly at the sight of the puppy. She was sure it was a puppy by the way it studied everything so intensely, its head cocked first to one side and then the other. She could see its
tiny teeth. Its mouth was slightly open as if in a smile. Maggie moved over to the window to get a closer look. The poodle followed her movements, almost as if it had heard her speak. The bright black eyes winked as the knocking on the door became more insistent.

BOOK: Hanging Time
7.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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