Murder in the Gunroom
After ushering his client out the hall door and closing it behind her, Rand turned and said:
"All right, Kathie, or Dave; whoever's out there. Come on in."
Then he went to his desk and reached under it, snapping off a switch. As he straightened,
the door from the reception-office opened and his secretary, Kathie O'Grady, entered,
loading a cigarette into an eight-inch amber holder. She was a handsome woman, built on
the generous lines of a Renaissance goddess; none of the Renaissance masters, however,
had ever employed a model so strikingly Hibernian. She had blue eyes, and a fair, highly-
colored complexion; she wore green, which went well with her flaming red hair, and a
good deal of gold costume-jewelry.
Behind her came Dave Ritter. He was Rand's assistant, and also Kathie's lover. He was
five or six years older than his employer, and slightly built. His hair, fighting a stubborn
rearguard action against baldness, was an indeterminate mousy gray-brown. It was one of
his professional assets that nobody ever noticed him, not even in a crowd of one; when he
wanted it to, his thin face could assume the weary, baffled expression of a middle-aged
book-keeper with a wife and four children on fifty dollars a week. Actually, he drew
three times that much, had no wife, admitted to no children. During the war, he and
Kathie had kept the Tri-State Agency in something better than a state of suspended
animation while Rand had been in the Army.
Ritter fumbled a Camel out of his shirt pocket and made a beeline for the desk,
appropriating Rand's lighter and sharing the flame with Kathie.
"You know, Jeff," he said, "one of the reasons why this agency never made any money
while you were away was that I never had the unadulterated insolence to ask the kind of
fees you do. I was listening in on the extension in the file-room; I could hear Kathie damn
near faint when you said five grand."
"Yes; five thousand dollars for appraising a collection they've been offered ten for, and
she only has a third-interest," Kathie said, retracting herself into the chair lately vacated
by Gladys Fleming. "If that makes sense, now ..."
"Ah, don't you get it, Kathleen Mavourneen?" Ritter asked. "She doesn't care about the
pistols; she wants Jeff to find out who fixed up that accident for Fleming. You heard that
big, long shaggy-dog story about exactly what happened and where everybody was
supposed to have been at the time. I hope you got all that recorded; it was all told for a
Rand had picked up the outside phone and was dialing. In a moment, a girl's voice
"Carter Tipton's law-office; good afternoon."