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Authors: Ed McBain

The Last Dance

BOOK: The Last Dance
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The 87th Precinct Novels

Cop Hater

The Mugger

The Pusher

The Con Man

Killer's Choice

Killer's Payoff

Killer's Wedge

Lady Killer (1958)

Til Death

King's Ransom

Give the Boys a Great Big Hand

The Heckler

See Them Die

Lady, Lady, I Did It!

The Empty Hours

Like Love

Ten Plus One


He Who Hesitates


Eighty Million Eyes




Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here

Sadie When She Died

Let's Hear It for the Deaf Man

Hail to the Chief


Blood Relatives

So Long As You Both Shall Live

Long Time No See






Eight Black Horses








And All Through the House



The Big Bad City

The Matthew Hope Novels



Beauty and the Beast

Jack and the Beanstalk

Snow White and Rose Red


Puss in Boots

The House That Jack Built

Three Blind Mice

Mary, Mary

There Was a Little Girl

Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear

The Last Best Hope

Other Novels

The Sentries

Where There's Smoke



Another Part of the City




The Blackboard Jungle

Second Ending

Strangers When We Meet

A Matter of Conviction

Mothers and Daughters


The Paper Dragon

A Horse's Head

Last Summer


Nobody Knew They Were There

Every Little Crook and Nanny

Come Winter

Streets of Gold

The Chisholms

Love, Dad

Far From the Sea


Criminal Conversation

Privileged Conversation

Short Story Collections

Happy New Year, Herbie

The Easter Man

Children's Books

Find the Feathered Serpent

The Remarkable Harry

The Wonderful Button

Me and Mr. Stenner


Strangers When We Meet

The Birds


Walk Proud


The Chisholms

The Legend of Walks Far Woman

Dream West


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

About the Author

Rockefeller Center
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Visit us on the World Wide Web:

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2000 by Hui Corp.

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

Simon & Schuster
and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Designed by Jeanette Olender

ISBN 0-7432-0047-0

eISBN 9780743200479

This, yet another time, is for my wife—DRAGICA DIMITRIJEVIĆ-HUNTER

The city in these pages is imaginary. The people, the places are all fictitious. Only the police routine is based on established investigatory technique.

The Last Dance

heart trouble,” the woman was telling Carella.

Which perhaps accounted for the tiny pinpricks of blood on the dead man's eyeballs. In cases of acute right-heart failure, you often found such hemorrhaging. The grayish-blue feet sticking out from under the edge of the blanket were another matter.

“Told me he hadn't been feeling good these past few days,” the woman was saying. “I kept telling him to go see the doctor. Yeah, I'll go, I'll go, don't worry, like that, you know? So I stopped by this morning to see how he was, found him just this way. In bed. Dead.”

“So you called the police,” Meyer said, nodding.

Because he'd expected to go out on a narcotics plant this morning, he was wearing blue jeans, a sweat shirt, and Reeboks. Instead, he'd caught this one with Carella and here he was. On a fishing expedition with a woman he felt was lying. Burly and bald, he posed his question with wide, blue-eyed innocence, just as if it did not conceal a hand grenade.

“Yes,” she said, “I called the police. That was the first thing I did.”

“Knew straight off he was dead, is that right?”

“Well … yes. I could see he was dead.”

“You didn't take his pulse or anything like that, did you?” Carella asked.

Looking trimmer and fitter than he had in a long while—he had deliberately lost six pounds since his fortieth birthday—he was dressed casually this morning in dark blue trousers, a gray corduroy jacket, a plaid sports shirt, and a dark blue knit tie. He had not anticipated this particular squeal at a little past ten in the morning. In fact, he had scheduled a ten-fifteen squadroom interview with a burglary victim. Instead, here he was, talking to a woman he, too, felt was lying.

“No,” she said. “Well, yes. Well, not his pulse. But I leaned over him. To see if he was still breathing. But I could see he was dead. I mean … well, look at him.”

The dead man was lying on his back, covered with a blanket, his eyes and his mouth open, his tongue protruding. Carella glanced at him again, a faint look of sorrow and pain momentarily knifing his eyes. In these moments, he felt particularly vulnerable, wondering as he often did if he was perhaps unsuited to a job that brought him into frequent contact with death.

“So you called the police,” Meyer said again.

“Yes. Told whoever answered the phone …”

“Was this 911 you called? Or the precinct number direct?”

“911. I don't know the precinct number. I don't live around here.”

“Told the operator you'd come into your father's apartment and found him dead, is that right?”


“What time was this, Miss?”

“A little after ten this morning. It's Mrs., by the way,” she said almost apologetically.

Carella looked at his watch. It was now twenty minutes to eleven. He wondered where the medical examiner was. Couldn't touch anything in here till the ME pronounced the victim dead. He wanted to see the rest of the body. Wanted to see if the legs matched the feet.

“Mrs. Robert Keating,” the woman said. “Well,
Keating, actually.”

“And your father's name?” Meyer asked.

“Andrew. Andrew Hale.”

Better to let Meyer stay with it for now, Carella thought. He had noticed the same things Carella had, was equally familiar with the telltale signs of a hanging, which this one resembled a great deal, but you couldn't hang yourself lying flat on your back in bed with no noose around your neck.

“How old was he, can you tell us?”


“And you say he had heart trouble?”

“Two heart attacks in the past eight years.”


“Oh yes.”


“No. Two angioplasties. But his condition was very grave. He almost lost his life each time.”

“And he continued having trouble, is that it?”

“Well … no.”

“You said he had heart trouble.”

“Two serious heart attacks in eight years, yes, that's heart trouble. But he wasn't restricted in his activities or anything.”

BOOK: The Last Dance
13.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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