Zigzags of Treachery Dashiell Hammett

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Zigzags of Treachery  by  Dashiell Hammett

Zigzags of Treachery by Dashiell Hammett
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a selection from Chapter One:All know about Dr. Esteps death,- I said, -is the stuff in the papers.- Vance Richmonds lean gray face took on an expression of distaste.-The newspapers arent always either thorough or accurate. Ill give you theMorea selection fromChapter One:All know about Dr. Esteps death,- I said, -is the stuff in the papers.- Vance Richmonds lean gray face took on an expression of distaste.-The newspapers arent always either thorough or accurate. Ill give you the salient points as I know them- though I suppose youll want to go over the ground for yourself, and get your information first-hand.-I nodded, and the attorney went on, shaping each word precisely with his thin lips before giving it sound.-Dr.

Estep came to San Francisco in 1898 or 1899 - a young man of twenty-five, just through qualifying for his license. He opened an office here, and, as you probably know, became in time a rather excellent surgeon. He married two or three years after he came here. There were no children. He and his wife seem to have been a bit happier together than the average.-Of his life before coming to San Francisco, nothing is known.

He told his wife briefly that he had been born and raised in Parkersburg, W. Va., but that his home life had been so unpleasant that he was trying to forget it, and that he did not like to talk - or even think - about it.

Bear that in mind.-Two weeks ago - on the third of the month - a woman came to his office, in the afternoon. His office was in his residence on Pine Street. Lucy Coe, who was Dr. Esteps nurse and assistant, showed the woman into his office, and then went back to her own desk in the reception room.-She didnt hear anything the doctor said to the woman, but through the closed door she heard the womans voice now and then - a high and anguished voice, apparently pleading.

Most of the words were lost upon the nurse, but she heard one coherent sentence. Please! Please! she heard the woman cry. Dont turn me away! The woman was with Dr. Estep for about fifteen minutes, and left sobbing into a handkerchief. Dr. Estep said nothing about the caller either to his nurse or to his wife, who didnt learn of it until after his death.-The next day, toward evening, while the nurse was putting on her hat and coat preparatory to leaving for home, Dr. Estep came out of his office, with his hat on and a letter in his hand.

The nurse saw that his face was pale - white as my uniform, she says - and he walked with the care of one who takes pains to keep from staggering.-She asked him if he was ill. Oh, its nothing! he told her. Ill be all right in a very few minutes. Then he went on out. The nurse left the house just behind him, and saw him drop the letter he had carried into the mailbox on the corner, after which he returned to the house.-Mrs.

Estep, coming downstairs ten minutes later - it couldnt have been any later than that - heard, just as she reached the first floor, the sound of a shot from her husbands office. She rushed into it, meeting nobody. Her husband stood by his desk, swaying, with a hole in his right temple and a smoking revolver in his hand. Just as she reached him and put her arms around him, he fell across the desk - dead.--Anybody else - any of the servants, for instance - able to say that Mrs.

Estep didnt go to the office until after the shot?- I asked.The attorney shook his head sharply.-No, damn it! Thats where the rub comes in!-His voice, after this one flare of feeling, resumed its level, incisive tone, and he went on with his tale.-The next days papers had accounts of Dr.

Esteps death, and late that morning the woman who had called upon him the day before his death came to the house. She is Dr. Esteps first wife - which is to say, his legal wife! There seems to be no reason - not the slightest - for doubting it, as much as Id like to. They were married in Philadelphia in 1896. She has a certified copy of the marriage record....



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