Chronology of Events
Friday, January 7
Went into HSD to talk with Ben du Pres about the offer he'd made to rejoin the firm. Told him outright that if all he wanted was to put my name back on the letterhead and have me considered a returned partner, he didn't have to give me anything; that I'd be honoured.
First saying that I was a man who had never taken a vacation in all my years with the firm, his answer was that they'd already budgeted for the package, and I was under no obligation to accept any individual assignment.
So I extended my hand, and we shook on it. While we were waiting for his secretary to bring in the contracts, just as an aside, Ben mentioned that there was a case I might take on. Not for HSD, but someone the firm owed a favor. None other than Martin Shawe.
The nicest word I'd ever use for Shawe would be slippery, and I wondered how we'd found ourselves in his debt. (Hmmm, how quickly that “we” flows from me again!)
Ben indicated that I might merely have a chat with Shawe - no obligation - and handed me the transcript of a trial which has been adjourned due to his skiing accident. So I phoned Shawe at the hospital, and am going to see him there tomorrow.
Then went over to see Bill Dagen, Dr. Mason's possibly suicidal patient who turned out to have an arsenal in his apartment. He actually wasn't there when I arrived, and I feared that he'd done something crazy.
As it turned out, crazy was a good word. When he showed up, Dagen advised that his way of coping with the terminal sentence was to kill a man he considered responsible for ruining his life.
Distressed, my next move was to find Jim Seabourne. Who grabbed me when I walked into the door of police headquarters but Alex Ryder, who had some client under questioning. He said something about a sweepstakes ticket I'd left at his home.
Couldn't imagine ever being at his house, and told him to forget it, and try his own luck with it, but he insisted, so I said to leave it with Jim Seabourne.
Jim seems happy with his move to the SFPD, and we went over to advise Phil Colby, Dagen's intended target. The head of Colby Savings & Loan, he told us - with obvious disinterest - that he'd been part of a student prank that ended Dagen up with a permanent disability and two years in the hospital.
Apparently, Dagen had been a top student at the time, but failed to graduate after a fall that many would believe Colby and his friends responsible for.
The banker himself seemed to consider his part in wrecking his classmate's life irrelevant, but when we mentioned the guns backing up Dagen's threat, Colby was outraged that Jim couldn't stop the potential assassin beyond a night in custody.
As we left, the banker said with irritation that he'd employ some private protection. Not totally sure Dagen's threat was only show, we were a bit shocked to meet him outside the bank building, complete with legally held weapons in his car.
To Jim, he denied having any criminal intentions, even saying in a cooperative tone that he barely remembered Colby from college days. But Jim nevertheless gave him a stiff warning before Dagen drove away.
With the threat appearing even more real, we went back up to Colby, Jim offering him ongoing police protection this time.
I thought about my insistence to Gene Mason about not visiting Dagen until the holidays were over, and seeing him there in front of the savings and loan tonight, made me realize that the delay could easily have ended up in Colby's death.
Driving back to police headquarters, Jim started questioning me again about why I left in April, then said he thought he knew. It was an uncomfortable moment, as old and good friends as we've been, and I didn't like the idea that other people might so easily be coming to the same conclusion as he.
Though there was much to discuss, we were mostly silent then until Jim left me off at my car. The miserable evening was made complete by Alex Ryder who appeared out of nowhere with the lottery ticket. I nodded thanks, but just wanted to get away back to Kate, and as discretely as possible.
After presenting me with a large Scotch when I walked in the door, Katie went in the kitchen to make us a late dinner. It feels like years since I've eaten and longer since seeing her this morning.
A nice feeling coming home like this - the way it would be if we had married last May - and I settled down to read the Brode trial transcript Ben had given me.
After a skiing accident, lawyer Martin Shawe wants Paul to sub for him in a murder case
Paul's doctor has violated medical ethics, and suggested that Paul pay a visit to one of his patients, who is suffering from the same fatal malady, hoping that Paul might be an inspiration to the man.
However, Bill Dagen has his own way of dealing with the death sentence - to meet one out to Phil Colby, whom he considers responsible for ruining his life.
Paul reports the situation to his friend Jim Seabourne of the San Francisco police. The two of them notify the intended victim, but say that little can be done to stop Dagen who appears to be sane and will deny what he told Paul.
However, when they leave the man's place of business, Dagen is waiting outside, so Lt. Seabourne then offers police protection, and also puts a man watching Dagen's activities.
Driving back to police headquarters, Jim Seabourne correctly guesses why Paul has given up his former life.
Saturday, January 8
Got up early and had another read through the Brode case material, then off to the hospital. Shawe was as distasteful as ever. Very oddly, when the rumor started going round after Christmas that I might be returning to HSD, he'd especially asked Ben for my services as a way of calling in his chit.
Why he would want me to serve on a murder trial when half the firm would be more qualified than I is a mystery, but it's only a couple days of virtually robot work, and might be interesting.
Or am I just using every opportunity to justify my presence in San Francisco? Not really convinced at first, in the end I told him that I'd be willing to handle the case, which resumes on Tuesday.
It's actually a fascinating assignment. Closest thing to an eye witness to the murder plus a recanted confession, and statements under truth serum that Shawe is convinced will be accepted in Court.
This I must read! Told him that, if he were playing games with me, he'd regret it, but still am drawn to the case. Must be the frustrated criminal lawyer in me that was smothered when I left the DA's office.
Went over to Mark Nettlinger's then, and he indicated that everything was in order as per what Pete and I wanted and were willing to be obligated to.
Our resident Englishman, he also suggested that Pete and I retain a man named Bob Holcolm in London, since the partnership is being incorporated in the UK.
Over a drink he told me that he and Barbara were planning to spend February in Hawaii, but that he was looking for someone to take the boat over ahead of them.
He raised his eyebrows in a “would you like to?” manner, and I told him that the racing would probably keep me off the water for a while.
Back at Katie's, I discovered that she hadn't gone into work, and had little appetite, so made us a small snack before going out to a big auction, but she ate nothing.
Uncharacteristically agitated and tense over the commission to buy a pricey painting for a Chicago businessman, she was flushed, and I felt her pulse racing away.
Somehow, it seemed more than the auction, but I couldn't say why. She even seems to be taking longer than usual to get ready.
Waiting here for Dagen to meet me for dinner, and worried that he might not show. Might even be out killing Colby as I write.
The art auction was extremely interesting, and I got caught up in the whole thing, holding myself back from bidding on attractive lots that were going reasonably. Had to imagine myself behind the Mastin racer to control my hand from flying up any number of times.
Katie's target - Pondering By The Sea - went for a colossal amount, but within her budget, and I kept wondering if it was just the excitement of the occasion or whether she was coming down with a fever.
Perhaps it was even a little nervousness about our being seen in public together. When we got in the car to drive home, and I went to give her a congratulatory kiss, her skin felt like hot paper.
Didn't like leaving her alone, and called her maid to come over. But Kate kept assuring me that everything was fine, and I should keep the important appointment with Dagen, so after getting her to bed, I've come here, but would almost be glad enough if Dagen didn't show, so that I could go back to the apartment.
Yvette said that Katie was sleeping peacefully when I got back, and I found her forehead no longer so hot. Made myself a drink, and decided to put down some journal notes before studying the Brode case material.
Over dinner Dagen painted a miserable story of years and years of trouble with his bad leg - far worse than Colby had described. We talked about the diagnosis, and it got a lot heavier than I'd have liked, feeling drained from yesterday and this afternoon.
A little mixed up, and grasping at straws to try and get to the man, I suggested that he join me sailing Mark's boat to Hawaii - and he almost seemed to go for it. Seriously considering at least.
Left the restaurant with a good feeling when we were suddenly jumped by three thugs who appeared from out of nowhere. There was a fourth too, who had a gun on the police detective Jim had assigned to keep an eye on Dagen.
They worked Dagen over, and when I was able to free myself, the lot disappeared, the detective calling an ambulance. Jim accompanied me to Colby's, but he denied having anything to do with the assault.
…. Just like Dagen denied wanting to kill HIM, he added pregnantly. Furious, I told him that minutes before his thugs set on us, I'd gotten Dagen to agree to leave town with me - feeling certain that I could change his thinking on the voyage to Honolulu.
Jim was deeply annoyed as well, and said that he was withdrawing police protection for Colby. Lots of bad words between them, and I was wondering where this day was going.
Paul visits Martin Shawe in the hospital, and though doubtful of his honesty, takes on responsibility to complete defense of a woman on trial for murdering her husband.
As part of his campaign to stop Bill Dagen from committing murder, Paul meets the potential assassin for dinner, and tries to impart his own philosophy for living with a death sentence.
Inviting Dagen to sail to Hawaii with him, Paul believes he's making progress when thugs - likely hired by Phil Colby - beat Dagen up outside the restaurant.
Sunday, January 9
Awakened by a call from Pete that he'd won the Nile Grand Prix, and that Clive - even with engine trouble - had finished fourth. Our suspicions from the last race that the Darrells were taking the better car now put aside.
Pete was elated, said that the machine was a dream to drive, and gave me a blow-by-blow account of the race. Then I talked with Clive who was no less high, virtually drugged on the delight of racing again.
Rhona came on the line next, obviously overjoyed at all the developments, and I told her our contract suggestions would be couriered over on Monday or Tuesday, and if everything was OK, we'd get together for a signing at Riverside.
Kate turned down the breakfast I offered, only nibbling a little toast. While I was keen to look after her, she said that all she was going to do was sleep.
However, she was worrying about delivering the painting to Chicago on Tuesday, and I tried to put her mind at ease, saying that I'd be glad to fly there with it after Court.
She took a sedative then, and I noted that the prescription was from yesterday - but felt it better not to upset her with questions.
When Yvette arrived, felt it safe enough to go out for a couple hours, and met a reporter from the LA Times who was doing a profile about me for the race next weekend.
As they already have a PR staff, it made sense to leave team publicity to Mastin - as long as we had approval on anything going out about us, but they've been working overtime.
Making a big deal about Clive's return to driving. So I suppose this is a little sop to our side. However, as principal driver, it's Pete who should get the focus.
Afterwards, visited Dagen in the hospital, and he informed me that he'd be released later in the day, so I hurried back to Kate's, and found her asleep.
Now to tackle my examination of Dr. Brickow in the morning, and maybe even start putting together my closing summary from Shawe's notes - just in case we're that far tomorrow.
Paul examines Shawe's star witness, a psychiatrist who testifies that, under truth serum, the defendant said that she didn't murder her husband. The District Attorney objects, and offers to provide expert witnesses to rebut the statements.
Later, Bill Dagen shoots Colby, then goes on to kill a garage mechanic. But when he hears an announcement over the radio that Colby is dead, turns himself in - only to learn that Colby is really alive.
Monday, January 10
With Katie saying that she was feeling much better, and Yvette there, I checked in to the Fairmont suite HSD had offered me, in case my public profile might be raised by the Brode case.
Met Louise, and found it difficult to make a firm impression about her, as her cool and distant manner could be hiding almost anything from insecurity to guilt.
The Brickow testimony went well, and it was exhilarating to be in Court taking on a criminal case, but Judge Kleiner gave Coleman an adjournment until Monday to come up with experts to refute our surprise testimony.
At that point, “events” took over from the planned schedule, when I got a call from Jim Seabourne, telling me that Dagen had shot Colby from a rooftop, and there was a manhunt out for him. I went to police headquarters, as Jim thought it a good idea for me to be standing by.
During the afternoon we got word that a man answering Dagen's description had killed a mechanic, then disappeared.
After notifying his family about the hoax, it was decided to put out a bulletin saying that Colby had died from the shooting, and only minutes later, Dagen turned himself in - apparently having held a young woman hostage in the meantime.
I was there when they brought him in. He was glowing with the success of his mission. Then I told him that Colby wasn't dead. The look on his face was the same one I saw in the mirror that day in March.
11 - 20 January 1966 ("Night Train from Chicago" /
"Carol" / "Where Mystery Begins" part 2)
Paul reflects on the end of the year.