Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Crooks' Tours: Part Four

Lady Sylvia had been wondering just when the Green Man would show up. She now supposed that he must make a habit of showing up when his poor, hard-pressed assistant worked out what was going on. And with this elderly man present, he had been forced out of the woodwork.

"And you..." Mr. Nicholson smiled wryly, "are the Green Man, Lady Sylvia, may I..."

"I know," the young aristocrat smiled back. "I'm one of the Green Man's agents. That's why I'm here."

"So you're here for the same reason I am, then," the elderly detective chuckled. "And you fooled me pretty well, Lady Sylvia. My congratulations."

"Think nothing of it," she laughed. "Now, why don't you tell me about Coote of the castle?"

"Not much to tell, my dear," he bowed, "only that Mr. Coote bought the castle a few years ago. He was a lawyer specialising in handling the defence for members of the underworld, but retired under a cloud. Now he pretends to be a country gentleman, but I believe he's using the Castle and his contacts to run a labour exchange for crooks. I'd be able to find out more if I could only find a way in."

"And I," the Green Man told Mr. Nicholson, "feel just the same way. But Coote would never ask someone with your connections to detection to his house. Burglary could be done, but that would alert him, and the agency would close down."

"But a great big snob like Marcus Coote doesn't need to be asked to invite some people," Lady Sylvia beamed proudly. "Take a good look, guys," she struck a pose, "I'm invited to a party at Mr. Coote's Castle tonight."

"Just a whisper of a title..." Ralph Nicholson sighed.

"The wicked," the Green Man declared, "are often shallow. Just be careful, Lady Sylvia. Remember, you are still very inexperienced."

"How can I forget?" Lady Sylvia smiled sweetly. "My brother always reminds me of that. And I won't be alone."

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