Inspector L.T. Cramer

9. august 2011 at 20:07 | Thalia Contostavlos
.........The doorbell rang, and since additional gatecrashers might or might not be desirable, I upped myself in a hurry, stepped across and into the hall, intercepted Fritz just in time, and went to the front door to take a look through the panel of one-way glass. Seeing who it was out on the stoop, I fastened the chain bolt, pulled the door open the two inches the chain would permit, and spoke through the crack. "I don't want to catch cold."
........."Neither do I," a gruff voice told me. "Take that damn bolt off."
........."Mr. Wolfe is engaged," I said politely. "Will I do?"
........."You will not. You never have and you never will."
........."Then hold it a minute. I'll see."
.........I shut the door, went to the office, and told Wolfe, "The man about the chair," which was my favorite alias for Inspector Cramer of Homicide.
.........Wolfe grunted and shook his head. "I'll be busy for hours and can't be interrupted."
.........I returned to the front, opened to the crack again, and said regretfully, "Sorry, but he's doing his homework."
........."Yeah," Cramer said sarcastically, "he certainly is. Now that Talbott's here too you've got a full house. All six of 'em. Open the door."
........."Bah. Who are you trying to impress? You have tails on one or more, possibly all, and I do hope you haven't abandoned Talbott because we like him. By the way, the phone girl and the waiter at the Churchill - what're their names?"
........."I'm coming in, Goodwin."
........."Come ahead. This chain has never had a real test, and I've wondered about it."
........."In the name of the law, open this door!" I was so astonished that I nearly did open it in order to get a good look at him. Through the crack I could use only one eye. "Well, listen to you," I said incredulously. "On me you try that? As you know, it's the law that keeps you out. If you're ready to make an arrest, tell me who, and I'll see that he or she doesn't pull a scoot. After all, you're not a monopoly. You've had them for a full week, day or night, and Wolfe has had them only an hour or so, and you can't bear it! Incidentally, they're not refusing to see you, they don't know you're here, so don't chalk that against them. It's Mr. Wolfe who can't be disturbed. I'll give you this much satisfaction: he hasn't solved it yet, and it may take till midnight. It will save time if you'll give me the names - "
........."Shut up," Cramer rasped. "I came here perfectly friendly. There's no law against Wolfe having people in his office. And there's no law against my being there with them, either."
........."There sure isn't," I agreed heartily, "once you're in, but what about this door? Here's a legal door, with a man on one side who can't open it, and a man on the other side who won't, and according to the statutes - "
........."Archie!" It was a bellow from the office, Wolfe's loudest bellow, seldom heard, and there were other sounds. It came again. "Archie!"
.........I said hastily, "Excuse me," slammed the door shut, ran down the hall and turned the knob, and popped in.

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