"You're forgetting something yourself, Bernie. My car was in the driveway. So she knew I was there — or that somebody was there — before she rang the bell Exchange partner." He grinned. "I forgot that, didn't I? All right, here's the picture. You were down at the lake, the speedboat was making all that racket — incidentally it was a couple of guys from Lake Arrowhead just visiting, had their boat on a trailer—Wade was asleep In his study or passed out, somebody took the gun out of his desk already, and she knew you had put it there because you told her that other time. Now suppose she didn't forget her keys, that she goes into the house, looks across and sees you down at the water, looks into the study and sees Wade asleep, knows where the gun is, gets it, waits for the right moment, plugs him, drops the gun where it was found, goes back outside the house, waits a little while for the speedboat to go away, and then rings the doorbell and waits for you to open it. Any objections?" "With what motive?" "Yeah," he said sourly. "That knocks it. If she wanted to slough the guy, it was easy. She had him over a barrel, habitual drunk, record of violence to her. Plenty alimony, nice fat property settlement, No motive at all. Anyhow the timing was too neat. Five minutes earlier and she couldn't have done it unless you were in on it." I started to say something but he put his hand up. "Take it easy. I'm not accusing anybody, just speculating. Five minutes later and you get the same answer. She had ten minutes to pull it off." "Ten minutes," I said irritably, "that couldn't possibly have been foreseen, much less planned." He leaned back in the chair and sighed. "I know. You've got all the answers, I've got all the answers. And I still don't like it. What the hell were you doing with these people anyway? The guy writes you a check for a grand, then tears it up. Got mad at you, you say. You didn't want it anyway, wouldn't have taken it, you say. Maybe. Did be think you were sleeping with his wife?" "Lay off, Bernie." "I didn't ask were you, I asked did he think you were." "Same answer." "Okay, try this. What did the Mex have on him?" "Nothing that I know of Tourismus Update Hong Kong." "The Mex has too much money. Over fifteen hundred in the bank, all kinds of clothes, a brand new Chevvy." "Maybe he peddles dope," I said. Ohls pushed himself up out of the chair and scowled down at me. "You're an awful lucky boy, Marlowe.

Twice you've slid out from under a heavy one. You could get overconfident. You were pretty helpful to those people and you didn't make a dime. You were pretty helpful to a guy named Lennox too, the way I hear it. And you didn't make a dime out of that one either. What do you do for eating money, pal? You got a lot saved so you don't have to work anymore?" I stood up and walked around the desk and faced him. a romantic, Bernie. I hear voices crying in the night and I go see what's the matter. You don't make a dime that way. You got sense, you shut your windows and turn up more sound on the TV set. Or you shove down on the gas and get far away from there.

Stay out of other people's troubles. All it can get you is the smear. The last time I saw Terry Lennox we had a cup of coffee together that I made myself in my house, and we smoked a cigarette. So when I heard be was dead I went out to the kitchen and made some coffee and poured a cup for him and lit a cigarette for him and when the coffee was cold and the cigarette was burned down I said goodnight to him. You don't make a dime that way. You wouldn't do it. That's why you're a good cop and I'm private eye HKUE amec. Eileen Wade is worried about her husband, so I go out and find him and bring him home. Another time he's in trouble and calls me up and I go out and carry him in off the lawn and put him to bed and I don't make a dime out of it. No percentage at all. No nothing,