by Hallie Ephron
It’s not an open casting call, Angela Cassano realizes as she takes in the emptiness of director Glenn Lancaster’s outer office. The gloomy space, on the second floor over storefronts on Santa Monica in Beverly Hills, has rough stucco walls painted off-white. The furnishings are chrome and ebony and black leather, and the stale air smells faintly of cigar. Her appointment was at two. At three she’s still waiting for Lancaster to emerge from his inner sanctum.
“They want you,” her agent had said when he called, sounding as surprised as she was that a remake of A Scandal in Bohemia was afoot, this time as a major motion picture. Same director, same actor as Sherlock Holmes, and they wanted her to read for the role she played twenty-five years ago: Irene Adler, the one woman who outsmarted the great detective.
By Meg Gardiner
Suicide, they say. She hears them outside as she leans towards the open window.
The woman in pearls mumbles it, sitting on the curb under city lights. Her face scratched by fragments of safety glass, posh frock bloody. She waves away the paramedic again, insisting she’s fine, but refuses to look there.
The footballer spits it, pacing the pavement, mobile to his ear, speaking to his agent. Pausing to beg a cigarette from a cop guarding the scene. Still so shaky ninety minutes after the thing, he doesn’t care if onlookers snap him smoking. He’d just pulled up in the Merc when it happened. Jesus. Nearly killed us.
The dog walker sobs it. Yes, I saw, she tells the detective, wiping her eyes. She had no warning. The woman simply plunged from the night sky into the windscreen of the Mercedes outside the Mayfair Capital Bank. Straight down into the glass, from… she looks up at the window.
Shaz jerks back into the shadows.
The Painted Smile
by William Kent Krueger
He was an odd child to begin with. After he received the book as a Christmas present, things only got worse. Eventually his aunt was beside herself and sought my help.
I have an office in Saint Paul, in a building that was grand about the time Dillinger was big news. It’s long been in need of a facelift. One of the things I like about it is that I can see the Mississippi River from my window. Another is that I can afford the rent.
Although she’d called ahead and had explained the situation, when she brought in the boy, I was still surprised. He was small, even for a ten-year-old. But his eyes were sharp and quick, darting like bees around the room, taking in everything. I welcomed the woman and her nephew, shook their hands, and we sat in the comfortable easy chairs I use during my sessions.
“So, Oliver,” I said. “I’m very curious about your costume.”
“My name is Sherlock. And this is not a costume.”