Death Has Three Lives (Michael Shayne, Book 25)
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Mike Shayne needed time to crack his latest case--just a little more time and a lot more luck. But the cops were getting impatient. They thought Shayne already knew more than he let on--much more--and they wanted in. They knew Shayne knew that Lucy Hamilton was next on the murderer's agenda. Shayne said he would handle it his own way. If Lucy's life and Mike's neck were to be saved, Mike would have to work fast. It would take all his skill to break one of the most cleverly coded messages he had ever run up against. And time was running out...
know who he is—what he looks like.” “There’s one point of contact. Lucy. Walking along the Causeway with a decoy package under her arm.” “Even that won’t get us anything. Even if you’re willing to risk her neck that way. He’ll discover it’s a decoy mighty soon. You still won’t know where to reach the woman before the cops get to her.” “That’s a chance we have to take. We can’t pass up this contact. Let’s see how we can figure it. He thinks he’s got us bluffed. That we won’t dare try to cover
wondered if you knew he was in Miami. Do you think she was coming here to meet him?” “I’m sure I don’t know. She didn’t say why she was going. Just that it was important and she’d explain it all to me when she got back. Say, this phone call must be costing you a mint from Miami. Want to hang up?” “I—guess so. Thanks so much. If you hear anything from Arlene, please call me collect.” “I’ll be happy to. Well—good night.” Lucy told her good night and cradled the phone. She sat very still,
smart enough to figure it out.” He looked down at the note in Lucy’s handwriting again. “There are several awkward constructions. Not the way Lucy would phrase the same thought. Nothing you can put your finger on, but there they are. I tell you, she wrote it that way for a purpose. Near the end, she uses the word mazuma. Now, that’s a word Lucy never used in her life. I’d swear to it. Yet she uses it in this note to me. Why? I tell you she had a reason. But instead of helping me figure out the
call me that. My sweet! It’s an adolescent phrase. But she used it for some reason. Because she expects me to realize it isn’t the way she would normally write to me, and thus she has used it for a special reason. “Hell, there are a dozen more examples as you read on,” he continued fiercely. “‘Please don’t do anything to hurt him or we will die.’ And ‘mazuma!’ A word Lucy would never normally use. And then the corny ending, of course. ‘As you read these lines, please realize, Mike dearest, that
figure it out. Nothing else matters now. It was damned clever of you, angel.” “Too clever for me to figure out yet,” said Rourke aggrievedly, trotting along beside them with the letter in his hands. “Give me the dope on it fast, Mike. I got maybe twenty minutes to get a story in the early edition. How in the name of God did Lucy put it in? And how did you figure Saltair Street on the bay from this note?” Shayne grinned down at Lucy and said, “It must have been plenty tough figuring out the