Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Billy the Kid and Her Paper Prison


A Pink Lady Continues…


“Keeping busy?”
Amanda brushed a stray tendril of hair back from her face and peered over the stacks of newspapers piled up on her desk to answer Christopher Garrety’s cheeky greeting.
“If you call menial labor keeping busy,” she replied.
“It can’t be that bad.”
“Would you want to change places with me?”
“It’s only been two weeks,” Chris reminded her.
“Two weeks and four days,” Amanda corrected, “of sorting, stacking and clipping, and if I have to endure one more paper cut, I think I’ll scream.”
“Don’t despair. Your sentence is almost up and it’s not as if you haven’t been making an important contribution to the agency. Maintaining a criminal catalog of photographs, statistics and articles has proven to be a vital new tool in fighting crime.”
“Even so, I’ll be glad when I can relinquish my scissors for a train ticket west.”
“Why there?” Chris asked in surprise, as he perched on the edge of her desk.
“Because that’s where the action is,” she replied, as if the answer were obvious. “You must have heard about Billy the Kid.”
Chris slowly stood up, unsettled by the mention of that particular name. “Oh, I’ve heard about him.”
“I’ve been reading nothing else since news of his escape from those deputies in Lincoln hit the papers. Look, here’s one direct from New Mexico.” She paused to rummage through her stack and handed it to Chris.
“Wouldn’t it be thrilling to track down a desperado like that?” she mused, while Chris half-heartedly browsed the headlines.
“I’ll let you know,” he uttered, dropping the newspaper on her desk.
“What?”
Chris hesitated a moment, but Amanda’s unwavering stare forced him to confess.
“I didn’t want to mention it now, but I just got my next assignment upstairs. They’re sending me to New Mexico on the early morning train to join the search for Billy the Kid.”
“Why are they sending you?”
“And why not me? I’m quite a clever fellow, if I do say so myself.”
“I only meant there must be plenty of men already in New Mexico to track him down without sending you so far away.”
“Ah,” Chris said sympathetically. “So that’s it.”
“What’s it?” Amanda replied defensively.
“Sentiment making that mask of independence you wear slip a little.”
Amanda crossed her arms.
“You don’t have to deny it. I find it rather endearing to know you’ll miss me.”
“Miss you! Why you conceited—”
“Ah, ah, ah,” Chris scolded. “There’s no use putting on an act. Besides, you might wind up saying something you don’t really mean.”
Amanda scoffed.
“I know you want to go with me,” he continued sympathetically. “But they’ll be lots of other cases we can work on when you’re ready. And in the meantime, can’t you just be a little happy knowing that I’ll miss you too?”
Amanda’s demeanor softened with the affection in his voice.
“Will you Chris?”
“Every minute.”
Unconvinced, Amanda slumped back in her chair. “You’re just saying that.”
“Perhaps,” Chris admitted. “But then, can’t you let me enjoy myself a little before I deliver the good news.”
He started to grin and his expression was infectious.
“Good news? What…,” Amanda replied, struggling to contain herself. “Christopher Garrety, if you’ve been keeping something from me I’ll—”
“You’ll smother me with kisses,” he interrupted, “when I tell you I managed to spring you from this paper prison and wangle an assignment for you too.”
“No. You didn’t. You couldn’t.”
“I shouldn’t really take the credit for it. It was Mrs. Webster’s idea, but I gave you a glowing endorsement.”
“Mrs. Webster? I didn’t know she was back.”
“Just,” Chris confirmed. “She sent me down here to fetch you and say she and Mr. Pinkerton are waiting in his office to brief you on your first assignment.”
Amanda jumped up and gave him a peck on the cheek.
“Why, Miss Brown, you forget yourself,” he teased, touching the cheek she had kissed.
“Will you c’mon,” she insisted, ignoring his bait and pulling him along behind her. “I can’t keep them waiting!”


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complete Pinkerton Detective Series at

Friday, May 18, 2018

A Lady of Mystery


A Pink Lady Continues…

It had been five days since Roscoe Conkling’s select circle of friends had gathered at Riggs House to hear Mr. Richter’s proposal. Now, as they returned to the meeting table to discuss the startling revelation of a kidnapping plot, their previous ignorance had been transformed into an odd mixture of fear and disgust.
“You can’t be serious about this, Mr. Richter!” Mr. Samson blasted, tossing his week old copy of the Times down on the table.
“And why not?”
“Because this isn’t some little girl or insignificant yokel we’re talking about. It’s the god damn President!”
“I for one don’t understand how this Guiteau fellow is supposed to work into your plans,” Mr. Wallace remarked. “Is he the one who’ll do the actual kidnapping?”
“Not likely. He’s a pipsqueak compared to the President,” Samson replied.
“It’s true Garfield is a big man,” Richter said. “Tall, over two-hundred pounds, physically fit.”
“Then how can your kidnapping ring expect to overpower him?” Bowers interrupted.
“There are plenty of means available that don’t involve physical contact.”
“I presume you mean drugs?” Mr. Reed interpreted.
“Presume nothing,” Richter warned.
“I for one think the whole scheme is ridiculous. It’s sure to blow up in our faces!” Samson remarked.
“It won’t,” Platt insisted.
“It has to, Tom. For one thing, the nation isn’t going to just stand around and wonder what happened when the President goes missing. They’ll be a bloody uproar, followed by a massive search effort. For another, there isn’t any place they could hide Garfield after the kidnapping where he wouldn’t be recognized. But even if all that could be overcome, we’d have to authorize Richter’s group to hold the President indefinitely.”
“I expect so,” Reed acknowledged.
“We couldn’t do anything else,” Samson continued. “We certainly couldn’t let him go.”
“And housing a prisoner for decades could be an expensive proposition, both in terms of funds and risk of discovery,” Bowers added.
“Then we won’t hide him,” Platt countered.
“How else are we going to keep him quiet and permanently out of the way?” Wallace asked.
“By killing him,” Samson realized. “But if that is what your employer has in mind, Mr. Richter, I want no part of it.”
“Me either,” Wallace agreed.
“I think we’d better just muddle along and continue to do the best we can with patronage appointments and the influence of our friends on Wall Street,” Reed remarked.
“Jay Gould and William Vanderbilt have already proved to be powerful allies,” Bowers agreed. “And it will only be four years before we can start again.”
“Four years can be an eternity with the wrong President,” Platt remarked.
“Better that than a life sentence in prison,” Wallace replied.
“Or an eternity in hell,” Samson added.
“What do you think, Roscoe?” Reed asked.
The Senator from New York rose and looked around the table. “I admit I see as many pitfalls with this proposal as the rest of you, yet, I’m not willing to give up and just let Garfield take the White House.”
“I hate to disillusion you, Roscoe,” Samson interrupted. “But he’s already done it.”
“Then I take it none of you are in sympathy with hiring Mr. Richter?” Conkling asked.
“Precisely,” Samson answered for the group.
“It just isn’t feasible,” Reed added. “I’m sorry, Roscoe.”
“You will be!” Platt blasted.
“Now, Tom, there is no need for animosity,” Conkling interjected. “We asked for our friends’ opinions. We can’t be upset because they’ve given them to us. However, I would ask you all to indulge me a little longer. I’m expecting someone who should be able to better explain this little coup.”
“Who?” Samson demanded.
“Mr. Richter’s employer,” Conkling returned coolly.
“Then where is he?” Wallace demanded.
“If you’ll just be patient, I’m sure—”
“While we’re waiting, I still say we should put it to a vote,” Platt continued. “That way no one can hide behind Mr. Samson’s yellow spine.”
“I’m no coward, Platt!” Edward Samson railed.
“Then prove it.”
“I refuse to indulge in cheap theatrics. If you want a vote, then mine is nay, and if the rest of you gentlemen have any sense, yours will be too, no matter what lies Mr. Richter’s employer cares to tell! If he ever arrives.” Without further ceremony, Mr. Samson got up from the table and stomped over to the door. But when he opened it, he was startled to find a woman waiting on the opposite side. She was decidedly elegant, tall and stylishly dressed. The hint of her profile seemed most attractive beneath the veil dripping from the brim of her hat.
“Pardon me,” Samson uttered.
“I trust you weren’t leaving, Mr. Samson?”
“You know me?”
The faint suggestion of a smile curved the lady’s lips. “Not as well as I’d like to,” she replied. “But if you’ll escort me inside to join the other gentlemen, I think I can remedy that…if you’re willing?”
“Of course. Only…who are you?”
“That hardly matters, sir. All you need to know is what I can do for you.”
“Madam, you confound me.”
“Just give me a few minutes of your time, Mr. Samson,” the lady replied, taking his arm, “and everything will become crystal clear.”

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hasty Judgements


A Pink Lady Continues…


Chris and Amanda made a mad dash back to Eric’s apartment on Wesley Street only to find he was no longer at home. They quickly redirected their search to his office at agency headquarters and discovered to their dismay that he was in private conference with Robert Pinkerton.
“You don’t think they’re talking about Marion do you?” Amanda whispered, afraid Mr. Pinkerton’s secretary might overhear.
“I don’t doubt it,” Chris replied.
“It’s only been four hours since I saw him. How could he dig up enough to make a convincing case against her?”
“I told you, he just invented it. Which is why we have to get in there.”
Chris stepped around Amanda and approached the secretary’s desk again. “Pardon me, but couldn’t you let Mr. Pinkerton know we’re here? I’d consider it a great favor.” He dazzled her with one of his most charming smiles. But the stern-looking widow seemed unimpressed.
“I’m sorry,” she replied. “Mr. Pinkerton left strict instructions he was not to be disturbed while he was with Mr. Masterson.”
“Of course. And I wouldn’t dream of asking you to go against your orders. Only, we’ve learned that Mr. Masterson was…misinformed about the subject of his meeting.”
“And you’d like the chance to correct his mistake?”
“Exactly.”
The secretary smiled warmly, then suddenly reverted to her sour visage. “No.” she snapped.
“But, ma’am,” Amanda pleaded.
“Sit over there!” the secretary snapped. “Or I’ll have you escorted from the building.”
Cowed, Amanda backed down, but Chris refused to comply with such an autocratic decree. Assuming his most imperious glare, he marched over to the door and held it open. “Let’s go, Amanda.”
“What?” she replied. “Where to?’
“To a higher authority,” he snarled, still glaring at the secretary.
He waited until Amanda was out in the hall before he added, “We’ll be back!” slamming the door behind him.
“Where are we going?” Amanda asked, as Chris hurried her down the hall. “Straight to the top,” he replied. “We’re going to see Mr. Allan Pinkerton.”
“Can we?”
“Why not? I’m sure he’ll be very interested to know he’s employing a lying rat.”
“Chris, I don’t know about this. It was one thing when I thought we just had to straighten Eric out, but to face up to Mr. Pinkerton….”
“It’ll be fine,” Chris assured her. “Here we are.”
He opened the door and pushed Amanda through, following behind her.
“Chris!” the studious, young lady behind the desk exclaimed. “Back so soon?”
“Hello, Deborah. You remember Miss Amanda Brown?”
“To be sure.”
Amanda offered a feeble smile of recognition until Deborah turned her attention back to Chris.
“We’d like to see the boss,” Chris explained. “Is he in?”
“To be sure,” she said again. “But do you have an appointment?”
“Now, Deborah,” he began, leaning over the desk to fix her with his most devastating gaze. “Since when did I ever need an appointment?”
Deborah blushed. “To be sure,” she cooed. Sickened, Amanda rolled her eyes and jabbed Chris in the ribs.
“I’ll just go tell Mr. Pinkerton you’re here,” Deborah said, getting up from her chair.
“Thank you, Beautiful.”
Amanda jabbed him again.
“Hey,” Chris complained, once Deborah was gone. “What’s the idea?”
“That’s what I’d like to know,” Amanda mumbled. “I thought we came here to help Marion. Not so you could make another conquest.”
“That’s not fair. Deborah is an excellent secretary.”
To be sure,” Amanda replied mockingly. Chris was about to admonish her when Deborah returned.
“Mr. Pinkerton will see you now,” she said.
“Thank you,” Amanda said, pushing Chris through Mr. Pinkerton’s office door.
“Well, Chris. Miss Brown. To what do I owe this unexpected visit?” Allan Pinkerton asked, coming around his desk to shake their hands.
“It’s about Eric Masterson and his investigation into the rumors of a mole in the agency,” Chris replied.
“Oh?”
“I’m afraid I’ve done something terrible, sir,” Amanda added.
“You’ve only been with us a day, Miss Brown,” Mr. Pinkerton pointed out. “I doubt it’s anything too serious.”
“I fear I’ve unjustly accused Marion Green of betrayal and you’re the only one who can save her,” Amanda replied.
“Well, in that case, I think you’d better start at the beginning.”
During the next twenty minutes, Chris and Amanda managed to piece together a complete picture for Mr. Pinkerton of the entire affair from Marion’s catty comments about Chris, to Eric’s request for help, and straight through the fight at Helens to Amanda’s ill-advised interview with Mr. Masterson that afternoon.
“So you see, sir,” Amanda finished, “I allowed Eric to dupe me and Marion is the one who’ll pay the price.”
“You were hasty in your judgments, Miss Brown. I don’t deny I find that troubling.”
“I think she’s learned her lesson, sir,” Chris chimed in.
“I have,” Amanda agreed. “But I’d be willing to accept any punishment you consider necessary, only please stop that meeting.”
“What meeting?”
“Eric is meeting with Mr. Robert right now. I’m sure he’s managed to convince your son Miss Green is guilty.”
“With the evidence he fabricated?” Mr. Pinkerton supplied.
“Exactly, sir.”
Pinkerton leaned back in his chair to stroke his beard.
“I’m not sure there’s much I can do at this point. If Masterson’s made his case, the only way to exonerate Miss Green will be to disprove his evidence.”
“We can do that, sir,” Chris assured him. “We found this telegram in Miss Green’s room.” He paused to remove the paper from his pocket and set it on Mr. Pinkerton’s desk.
“It proves not only where she went but why,” Chris finished.
“I wasn’t aware Miss Green was unwell,” Pinkerton remarked, as he read the message.
“I don’t think you were supposed to know, sir,” Amanda supplied. “And that’s my fault too.”
Allan Pinkerton studied at Amanda over his square spectacles and smiled in spite of the seriousness of the situation.
“Don’t be so quick to take all the credit, Miss Brown,” he remarked. “Haven’t you ever heard claiming something as always or never is an impossibility?”
Amanda felt somewhat relieved by his kindly attitude and returned his smile.
“You two wait here,” Mr. Pinkerton continued, rising from his chair. “I’ll go see what I can do.”
The office became eerily silent after Mr. Pinkerton left. Amanda and Chris both felt as if they were holding their breath until the clock on the shelf behind Mr. Pinkerton’s desk chimed six. A minute later, they heard the din of footsteps going down the hall as employees headed home for the night. Soon the noise ceased and the silence of anticipation pressed in on Amanda and Chris once more.
“I wish he’d come back,” Amanda finally said.
“The longer he’s away, the better Marion’s chances,” Chris reasoned.
“I’m sorry, Chris.”
“There’s no reason to apologize to me.”
“There is,” Amanda insisted. “I got into this mess because I didn’t trust you…the way partners should.”
“I didn’t give you any reason to trust me, the way I flirt all the time. It isn’t fair.”
“I don’t mean I was worried about you and Marion. I was talking about Eric. You know him better. I should have trusted your judgment when you told me not to get involved with him.”
“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry I didn’t explain my reasons for doubting him so you could have trusted me.”
He held out his hand. “Forgive and forget?”
Amanda nodded gently and, pressing her palm against his, repeated, “Forgive and forget.”
Happy to have at least mended their relationship, they sat huddled together for a while until anxiety forced Chris to start pacing.
“Do you think one of us should go see what’s happening?”
“Maybe. Mr. Pinkerton might—”
Chris’ words were abruptly cut off by Mr. Pinkerton’s sudden return. He looked slightly flushed if not fatigued, but his spirits seemed high. He crossed to his desk and sat down to meet their expectant faces.
“Miss Green is no longer under scrutiny,” Mr. Pinkerton announced. “She will be questioned upon her return to Chicago, but the danger of an inquiry into her actions will no longer be required.”
“You won’t dismiss her because she’s sick?” Amanda asked.
“That all depends on the seriousness of her condition,” Mr. Pinkerton replied. “If it could potentially create a hazard to either herself or a fellow operative, I won’t have any choice.”
“Are you going to tell her how you found out about her illness?”
“I believe honesty is the best policy, Mr. Garrety.”
“I’d like to be the one to tell her,” Amanda volunteered. “I owe her that much.”
“Are you sure, Miss Brown? I could easily handle the matter without mentioning your name.”
“She has a right to know,” Amanda insisted. “Please, let me face her and apologize.”
Amazed at Amanda’s integrity, Allan Pinkerton nodded. “If you wish.”
“What about Eric, Mr. Pinkerton?” Chris asked.
“Mr. Masterson has been suspended from his duties.”
“You mean his current investigation, don’t you, sir?”
“I mean his authority as a Pinkerton detective.”
“You fired him?”
“He left me no other recourse. Fabricating evidence to frame an innocent party throws into question his entire character. If he was willing to lie and cheat this time, what’s to say he wouldn’t do it again or hasn’t done it in the past? All of his former cases will have to be reopened and checked for errors and my son has already assigned new agents to take over his current investigation.”
“But surely you could give him a second chance,” Chris urged.
“He’s already had it, Chris,” Pinkerton assured him. “Mr. Masterson has persisted in breaking the strict code of ethics that this agency is founded upon and I can’t allow that to continue.”
“I suppose so,” Chris relented.
“I hate to mention this now, but you’ll have to give testimony regarding the cases the two of you worked on.”
“Of course, sir.”
“As for you, Amanda,” Pinkerton continued, shifting his attention to her. “I’m afraid your conduct has demonstrated you aren’t ready to be a Pinkerton operative.”
Amanda’s face paled.
“Yet,” Mr. Pinkerton added. “After discussing the matter with both my son and Mrs. Webster, we feel a brief suspension of your studies is in order to give you time to reflect.”
“Reflect on what, sir?”
“Your goals, ambitions, abilities. We want you to take the time to find out what being one of our employees really means and if you’re up to the task. To that end, my son suggested we put you to work in our records room.”
“Doing what?” Chris inquired.
“Helping compile important newspaper clippings, amend criminal files, and destroy old records. In this way, you’ll gain a broader understanding as to the scope of our organization, while at the same time remain…how shall I put it? Out of harm’s way.”
“How long would she have to wait to begin her training again?”
“Three weeks should be sufficient,” Pinkerton answered. “If, after that time, you still wish to pursue your detective’s license, we’ll be happy to let you resume the training course.”
“Three weeks seems an awfully long—”
“No, Chris,” Amanda objected. “Three weeks is more than fair. Thank you, Mr. Pinkerton. I appreciate your help.”
“And I appreciate your honesty, Miss Brown. Mr. Garrety was right when he told me you had exceptional gifts. I’m glad you’re here and I hope when the three weeks are up, you’ll still want to be one of my detectives.”
“Mr. Pinkerton, I’ve never wanted anything more.”

Find more about A Pink Lady and the
complete Pinkerton Detective Series at