* * *
Crommelin lived alone in a Manhattan brownstone at 128 Washington Street in the Financial District. He greeted me in his smoking jacket and slippers, and he offered me a drink. He was a tall man with willowy red hair with streaks of gray. “No thank you, Sir. I’m here to inquire about the death of Mary Rogers some time back,” I said, sitting down on the plush, velvet-green divan in his parlor.
His mood changed immediately, and pallor overcame his face that would have been a fine addition to one of Edgar’s stories, “The Mask of Read Death,” perhaps? “Can you verify your whereabouts from October third until October seventh, 1849?”
Crommelin became defensive. His wrinkled face turned red, and his eyes riveted upon mine. “Are you from the police? I’ve been over this Mary Rogers case with dozens of police and members of the press over the years.”
“No, I am not a policeman. I am a private detective concerned with the details of the death of a close friend of mine. If you could just answer my question, Sir, I would be most obliged,” I said.
“As you may know, I am a barrister in this city, and I keep excellent records. Let me get my calendar from that year,” he said, and he got up and walked over to a large secretary desk in the corner of the apartment. He brought back receipts from taverns and restaurants covering business meals during the five days in question. His signature was right there on each receipt proving he was in New York during the time Poe was in Baltimore.
“Thank you, Sir. You have been quite helpful. If I may stay in touch with you, however, may I do so? This case is proving to be quite a conundrum, so I may even require your assistance.”
“Of course,” he said, and he bade me farewell.
* * *
Genre – Historical Steampunk Mystery
Rating – PG13
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