The office was dimly lit. A fan wobbled lazily overhead, and a wreath of smoke had gathered like a private smog beneath the hat-brim of the man lounging behind the desk.
May Abernathy knocked daintily before she entered, pausing in the doorway and throwing a truly dramatic silhouette.
"I'm looking for a private detective," she drawled. "They tell me you're a man who - gets results."
The seated figure stirred only a little, turning to look at her. His eyes seemed to glow in the smoky shadows, almost as brightly as the end of his cigarette.
"Are you the man?" She asked, when he made no response.
On the wall, a clock ticked noisily; sounds of traffic filtered sluggishly in through the windows. Finally, he opened his mouth.
"Unnnnnh," Harvey Curtain groaned, slowly creaking to his feet. The movement cleared the smoke and she saw a face that was long-nosed, strong-jawed, and slightly grey. Oddly empty eyes stared at her from beneath thick, mysterious eyebrows. A little tendril of smoke wove