Slightly longer diversion from Gabriel's Promise than I had planned. There's been a lot of interest in The Gumshoe Diaries right now so I've kept this up an extra day. Don't worry, Gabriel's Promis fans, chapter 29 is ready to post and it will be up tomorrow for you to enjoy and see what Jean-Luc Rojier and his crew are up to now. I continue to receive emails daily asking about the photo of the girl to your right, Sally November, and the story behind it. That picture aas well as the string of pics below are stills from an upcoming "book trailer" currently in production. It will debuet in a week or two on this blog as well as several other venues. Click on her picture and you can download a free copy of the ebook and read all about her. The Press Release below may help you make that choice. I'll also share chapter one with you tonight and will return to Gabriel's Promise tomorrow. Please enjoy my version of classic LA Noir...I think you'll like it...cheers...nick
LA's latest Gumshoe
Author strikes gold with new detective series
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – For those who have been waiting for the next Phillip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Mike Hammer, or Jim Rockford, the wait is over! Nicholas Sheridan Stanton unveils the latest result of his chronically leaky cranium in a clever new detective series he's calling The Gumshoe Diaries.
In the first book, Fortune Cookies Always Lie he introduces us to Whitey Roode, the likeable former LAPD gold shield turned Private Investigator after being "invited to retire" by the brass, as he tells it. The author takes us on a wheels within wheels scavenger hunt for the killer or killers of pretty Sally November, the not so innocent niece of Whitey's close friends and occasionally accurate snitches, Jai Lai and Lu Rong.
The quirky Asian couple, owners of the Show-M-U-Like-M delicatessen, a downtown establishment popular with all walks of life, hire Whitey to find out who done it to little Miss Sally (a.k.a Mei Li Teng). The education her uncles thought they were sponsoring turned out to be more dangerous than the standard three R's, much more.
THE GUMSHOE DIARIES: Fortune Cookies Always Lie
a novel by nicholas sheridan stanton
(the only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself through love) Galations
For Tuyet, whose faith in me knows no bounds, you are my inspiration
(”tell me why, why, why, why you cried…and why you lied, lied, lied to me”)…Beatles
Little Tokyo, Los Angeles California, Monday, Feb 16, 2009…12:30pm
Her name was Sally November. At least that’s what the mailbox said. Truth be told her given name was Mei Li Teng, that’s what the INS downtown said when I checked her out on the way over here this morning. Such a beautiful name I thought, almost lyrical. You know, I’ve lived around the Asian community in this city for better than twenty years, and the practice of choosing English names for their children has always perplexed me, I don’t get it. I suppose it’s one way to fit into the neighborhood, who knows? It was a shame though; Mei Li probably fit this girl much better. Actually, this whole thing was going to be a double shame, because now I had to go back and tell her Uncle Lu that I had found his missing niece. It was going to crush him, I knew that for a fact; as I have listened to him go on and on about her for years, ever since she was a tyke.
Lu Rong, his life partner Jay Lai, and I go way back. All the way back, to when I carried a gold shield as one of LA’s finest. They were more friends than associates, I mean really, how useful are snitches named Rong and Lai anyway (pronounced ‘wrong’ and ‘lie’)? Think about it, it’ll come to you. They are a pleasant little homo couple though. They run a Jewish Delicatessen, yes, I said Jewish, in the financial district on Wilshire, you know the white collar side of town. It had a catchy little name too, “SHO-M-U-LYKE-M.” I know what you’re thinking, cops and queers, strange bedfellows, right? Well don’t be too quick to judge. Go shake your own family tree first, you may be surprised!
Anyway, Lou had asked me to see what I could see after his niece was a no-show at LAX a while back. She was supposed to be a passenger on an inbound Boeing 747 from Taiwan, and in fact the manifest confirmed that she had boarded the plane in Taipei. But when Uncles Lu and Jay arrived to pick her up, guess what, no Mei Li? Lu and Jay had bankrolled her trip to the States where she was supposed to attend USC majoring in business administration with a minor in finance. That was six months ago and now here she was, at the Biltmore Hotel, a run down bastion of yesteryear, quite literally across the street and down the block from my own digs at the Hotel Alexandria. That doesn’t put my skills as an investigator in a very good light, but in my defense all I had was an old photograph and unconfirmed starting place to work with. For all I knew she never actually got on that plane in Taiwan. Nevertheless, here she was, and she was dead. Mondays always suck!
From the looks of things she had traded USC for the school of hard knocks, and decided to go into business for herself using her tuition money as venture capital, courtesy good old Uncle Lu. As businesses go, her choice proved to be an ominous one that included some pretty serious risks, and I’m not talking about the fiscal kind. Sally was young, twenty-five years old, or so her dossier read, and she had big dreams according to Uncle Lu. He said that she had come to the US from Taipei to pursue a career in advertising. Well, she was advertising all right, and her clientele was apparently on the dangerous side.
Her skin was olive colored, smooth and flawless, a veritable walking billboard for the cosmetics industry, the make me beautiful people. She was runway model beautiful. I shook my head with a tsk tsk tsk look on my face as I stared at her corpse. She was dressed in pair of pink silk jammies, well, the bottom part anyway. Her shoulder length hair was pulled back stylishly into a ponytail that started high on her scalp and arched downward, just skimming the nape of her neck. She was drop dead gorgeous, no pun intended, a real China doll, with a look of childlike innocence that immediately squelched any impure thoughts I might have associated with her chosen ‘profession.’ I could feel tears welling up as I studied her with the eyes of a father, an uncle, or a brother. Except for the long silk tie wrapped tightly around her neck, she appeared to be only napping, as if she’d wake up startled by my presence at any moment. But of course, she wasn’t sleeping, she was dead, and that turned my heart to mush, like it would anyone witnessing a mess like this.
“What are you doing here Whitey?” asked the uniformed officer entering the living room from the kitchen. I knelt down beside the body, ignoring him, and fussed with the pink silk tie, careful not to touch anything, using my fountain pen as a sterile probe.
“Hey! Roode! That's right, I’m talking to you jack!” the officer hissed in a low anxious tone. I put the pen back into coat my pocket, blew the Sally a kiss and stood up.
“No need to get testy Copper, I hear you loud and clear.” I replied.
“Come on man, Lt. Celaya will be here any second!” the agitated officer pleaded.
I looked at him knowingly and gave him wink, tipping the old and weathered Fedora I always wore high up onto my forehead. I folded my arms and added, “I guess that explains the whispering,” I whispered back. I ran my tongue over my teeth to remove the remnants of breakfast, my usual Pantry special, ham and eggs with an English muffin and coffee.
“It would probably be bad if he caught me here, might look like I’m one upping him.” I said with a grin.
“You’re not on the job anymore Whitey, you can’t just barge into a crime scene like you own the place! Besides, as we all know, Celaya hates your guts! So save me a lot of paperwork and beat it before he finds you here and makes me arrest your ass…again!” I nodded, fitting my hat back into its proper place on my skull, and started to leave. Officer Cooper interjected quickly.
“Not that way Whitey, go out the back, why take chances, right?”
“Natch, thanks paley,” I replied, tapping my temple with my pointing finger.
I did an about face and passed my friend in the blue uniform on the way to the kitchen, where I would make my Batman like exit via an open window out onto the fire escape. Copper’s partner, Patrolman Lewis tapped me on the arm as I went by. “Wait a sec, what do you know about this?” he asked, knowing that I always did my homework.
“What do youknow?” I replied, stopping to face him. Lewis looked at me suspiciously and then answered.
“The neighbor says she’s a working girl.”
“Tell me something I don’t know,” I replied sarcastically.
“Well, the skinny is that she had some interesting playmates.”
“Do tell,” I said smugly.
“Yep, more than interesting, if this fella isn’t bullshitting us that is.”
“The neighbor huh, the one next door?”
“Yeah, that’s the one, right next door. Stay clear of him, if you know what’s good for you Whitey,” advised young Officer Lewis.
“Probably good advice, thanks,” I said, turning to walk away.
“Hey man, it’s your turn, tit for tat ass-wipe, what about you, what’ve you got?” shouted the irritated patrolman. I stopped in the doorway and answered without looking back.
“Oh yeah, her name’s not Sally,” I said, walking through the kitchen quickly and out the window, onto the sunlit fire escape.
I paused there for a just second or two to get a lay of the land. I glanced over at the empty fire escape next door, and made a mental note. Sooner or later I would be worming my way into that nosey neighbor’s life as soon as the LAPD was finished with him, definitely sooner, depending on how lucky later tonight. That would have to wait until I finished telling my good friend the sad news. That part of the job is always the worst. Bringing a mean dose of reality to someone, especially a friend always sucks. I hopped down from the fire escape ladder and hit the pavement at a trot. I would stop by the bar at the Alexandria Hotel for a short one before I walked the six blocks to Lu and Jay’s deli. Delivering bad news is always easier when sauced.