The Let's Play Archive

Murder off Miami

by SelenicMartian

Part 6: Pages 71 to 86. Cock and bull story.

: This is the update where people who've played L.A. Noire will recognize the approach to interrogation.


: Good morning, Count.

: Hallo, hallo, still busy Mr. Sherlock Holmes?

: Very busy indeed, Mr. Daniels.

: Well, now, just fancy your people being as quick off the mark as all that.

: You don't deny it?

: What's the use, friend? I kept up the little bluff yesterday because I had half a hope that you might lay your hands on the man who gave Blane his rightaway. Then I could have gone back to business without any sort of trouble from you folk at all, but it was only half a hope and I knew that if you didn't get your man you'd pick it up that the Count stuff was all hooey by to-day.

: Well, that's frank, anyhow. Now, what do you know ?

: I know nothing. I swear by Almighty God .......

: Cut it Slick, cut it. You're in a spot. You know that, don't you?

: So that's the line, is it - trying to frame me, are you?

: Not a bit of it. I want your help, that's all.

: Oh, yeah! That's what all you guys say, and once I start to shoot my mouth I'll say something I didn't mean, then you'll be on me and I'll be for the hotsquat before I know what's happened. No sir. I'm not talking.

: Now, look here, Slick, I'm not trying to frame you - honest. But you're in a jam, boy - in a jam. You're an old timer, mixing in with this swell crowd. Why? You didn't come here for sunbathing and big-game fishing, and you didn't come here to invest a million dollars in soap. What's more, you've got a gun down in your cabin.

: There you are - what did I say? Just because I'm known to the bulls you're jumping to it that I bumped off Blane. What's a gun, anyway? Your bunch have never known me use one, have they?

: No, that's the whole point. Murder is not your racket, Slick, so you've got nothing to be frightened of if you'll come clean, but if you don't, Slick, you're in a spot; you're in a spot my boy.

: You've said a mouthful. If you can't get the right guy you'll get the wrong, rather than fall down on your job, and having me on board makes it easy money.

: You know how things pan out, Slick. It's a bad break, but that's just how it might be.

: Will you play ball with me, if I play ball with you?

: Sure I will, Slick. I know you didn't do it. You're a con man and a sharp. This isn't your racket, but you've got to tell me just what you know.

: O.K. Shoot the questions.

: You were in the lounge until 7.45 the night before last with Mrs. Jocelyn, then, according to your previous statement, you both went below together. You turned up in the lounge at 25 after 8. It doesn't take a man forty minutes to change his clothes and I want to know just what you did during that time.

: Well, it was this way, chief: that dame's sweet on me.

: Which dame?

: Why, Mrs. Jocelyn. She's a good looker, too, but I make it a rule never to mix business with pleasure.

: So you were here on business?

: There you are, what did I say? You'll have me on the hot squat before I know which way I'm walking. You bulls are all the same.

: Oh, forget it. Go on now. You say this dame is sweet on you?

: Yes, she made just one darn nuisance of herself ever since the day after we put out from New York. "Oh, Count, it's such a lovely day, would you carry my rug up to the sun deck ?" - "Oh, Count, don't run away, there 're so many things I want to talk to you about." - "Oh, Count, must you go below, then let's meet in the lounge before the others come up for a cocktail." Well, it's all right when you want that sort of thing, but when you don't some janes give you the willies.

: I get you. Now let's go back to the night in question.

: Well, it was this way: when we were talking in the lounge, before Rocksavage and that fellow Stodart came in, I happened to have mentioned that I had a real good book, "The Saint in New York," it was called, by a guy named Charteris. When we came down the companion-way she said to me, 'Oh, Count, I wonder if you'd lend me that lovely book you've just finished ?' and she takes my arm and accompanies me along to my cabin. I handed her the book immediately we got inside but she wasn't going. Oh, no, sir, believe you me. She wanted something much more exciting that the "Saint in New York." Down she sat on the edge of my bed and engaged me in conversation.

: Oh. My. God. A conversation! That's serious harassment by today's standards.

: Only conversation?

: Sure! Haven't I been telling you. She sat there nearly half an hour, and even then I had my work cut out to get rid of her. Then I had to scram after she left, or I wouldn't have been changed in time for dinner. That's all there is to it.

: Right, that's fine. Now, I want to know why Reginald Jocelyn asked you to join this party in the first place?

: He fancies himself at poker, so he asked me along in the hope we'd be able to make a little school and brighten up the trip.

: Was he in it that you were a sharp?

: Well, no, I wouldn't say that, but he's no fool, that boy, although I certainly took a wad off him when we crossed together in the Normandie. He can see as far as most people and, although he's no reason to complain, I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks my castle in Italy to be all moonshine.

: Listen, Slick: he wouldn't have asked you to come along if he felt that way around you, and it's pretty obvious from what you say that he did. There must have been some other reason and I want it.

: Well, if there was, I'm not talking about it.

: Don't you think it would be better to do the talking quietly here with me than to some heartless cop you'll have to spill the beans to if I send you ashore?

: You wouldn't do that, chief.

: I would, and you know it. You're due for a first calss grilling, Slick, unless you come clean with me.

: If only you'll believe me, that's all I ask.

: I'll believe you all right. Now let's have it.

: Well, Jocelyn and I got friendly in the Normandie, and one night I asked him if he ever did a job of work, or just drifted around being the grand play boy all the time. He told me he was in Lady Welter's outfit, and from then on we got to talking stocks and shares. He let it out that most of his ma-in-law's money was tied up in the Rocksavage companies and they hadn't been doing too well lately, because Bolitho Blane and his crowd had been hitting into them right and left.

At the mention of Bolitho Blane I just saw red. I've never seen the man. Honest, chief, I never have, but he did me dirt once that I'll never forget. He came on board the old Mauretania to see somebody off at Liverpool, and he noticed me among the passengers. He recognised me from a snapshot that had been taken on a previous trip when I got intimate with a friend of his - well - you know my line of business Chief, I had skinned that friend of his good and grand. He tipped me off the purser. The purser told me, afterwards, that he had. They watched me specially during that trip and caught me out. That was the first time and the judge sent me down for eighteen months in Sing Sing.

Now, I ask you, wasn't that just a devilish trick to play. I wasn't as though I had taken a wad off Blane himself, but he must go and point me out to the purser as a suspect, and that put me behind the bars. I've always sworn that I'd get even with him one day.

: So that's how the land lies, is it?

: No, no, Chief, you've got me all wrong. Didn't I say that once a guy starts talking he lets himself in. I didn't murder Blane. I give you my word I didn't.

: I'm not suggesting that you did, but now you've got so far you'd better give me the rest of the story.

: All right, then. When I went off the deep end about Blane this chap Jocelyn became mighty interested and he said to me, "Now, if you'd really like a chance to settle your account with Blane I can give it you. A little party is being arranged in about a fortnight's time in Mr. Rocksavage's yacht, for deep-sea fishing, sunbathing and that sort of thing. Blane is going to be one of the guests. Would you care to come along?"

Well, I thought that over. I didn't give Blane his, I swear I didn't. That was the last thing in my mind. But it seemed a grand opportunity to get in with the swell crowd, like this.

: How's the luck been running?

: I haven't touched a card since I came on board. There's been a little mild bridge evenings, that's all. What d'you take me for anyway? Think I'd go and spill the beans by soaking this crowd for a few grand first evening we were out of port. No, sir! That's not the kind of man I am. There might have been just one little card party one night before we got back to port, where maybe I'd have been the lucky one, but not so lucky that any of these people would ever have supposed there was anything phoney about me. I valued this connection higher than that. If I played my hand right on this trip it was a sure bet they'd be asking me parties when we got back to New York. That's what I was after, and I wasn't going to spoil it by any funny stuff on the trip.

: Has Jocelyn said anything to you since you came on board about the chance he had given you to settle accounts with Blane?

: Not a thing. I just took him at his word and came along and, if you want the truth, by the time we were one day out I'd just forgotten every word about that conversation in the Normandie. I was so interested in making these new hook ups with the society crowd that I'd even forgotten Blane was coming on board until his secretary introduced himself to Rocksavage two evenings ago just after we sailed from Miami.

: You do believe though that Jocelyn asked you on board principally because he knew that you had a grudge against Blane?

: That's God's truth, Chief - God's truth, and if you ask me something fresh must have happened to make Jocelyn so mad with Blane that he sailed in and did the job himself before waiting to see if I'd act as his catspaw.

: All right, Slick, that'll do now. I'll be seeing you.

: If the con man is to be trusted then Reggie is in trouble.


: Good morning, Mrs. Jocelyn.

: Good morning.

: Sit down won't you. There are just a few more things I want to ask you about the night before last.

: Thanks - but I have already told you all I know.

: All, Mrs. Jocelyn? I wish I could be quite certain about that.

: But aren't you? Whyever not? I don't know anything about Mr. Blane's death at all.

: Maybe you don't, but I just want you to think very carefully. Forget anything which you may have said to me yesterday. Put it right out of your head and I promise I won't hold it against you. I want you to tell me exactly where you were in this yacht between the time of your leaving the lounge with Count Posodini and returning to it changed for dinner on the night before last.

: But I've already told you. I came below with the Count, left him at his cabin door and went straight along to my own cabin to change. My husband can prove that because he was there - lying in his bath - when I came in.

: Ever read a book called 'The Saint in New York' by Leslie Charteris, Mrs. Jocelyn?

: Another real book by a real author.

: Oh, er - yes I am reading it at the moment, but I suppose you saw it in my cabin when you searched the whole ship yesterday.

: That's right, where did you get that book?

: Count Posodini lent it to me.

: When?

: Well, as a matter of fact, it was the evening that we're talking about. He gave it to me just after we came below, and I took it to my cabin when I went to change.

: That's better. Now we're getting somewhere. How long did you stay in the Count's cabin?

: I was never in it. He went in and got the book and handed it out to me through the door.

: Now, Mrs. Jocelyn, this won't do. I have no desire to pry into your private life, and if you've been having an affair with the Count that's nobody's business. Anything you say is just confidential between you and me, but you've got to tell me the truth because somebody on this ship has committed murder, and somebody is going to the electric chair on that account. You'd feel pretty bad if that somebody was the wrong person; just because you failed to own up to it that you were talking to them while the murder was being committed, and you were the only alibi they had - wouldn't you?

: Please don't let's be melodramatic, Inspector. I'm sure it won't come to that and, as I've already told you, my husband can prove I was in my cabin at 7.45. He asked my the time as I came into the bathroom and I looked at my watch.

: I am sorry but I don't believe you, Mrs. Jocelyn. It's natural enough that you and your husband should have got together directly it was discovered that there had been a murder done one board. You fixed that time between you to coincide with the time you left the lounge but, at the time you say you found your husband in his bath, you weren't in your own suite at all.

: Well, if you choose to think I'm a liar ............. but I don't admit that I am for one moment.

: I see. That's your story and you're sticking to it. All right, Mrs. Jocelyn. I won't trouble you any more for the moment, but later on I'm afraid you may be sorry that you haven't seen your way to tell me the truth.

: It is the truth, I tell you.

: So you say, sister, but I don't believe you, so there's no use our arguing any more about it. You can go now ....... no, not that way. D'you mind going into the next cabin and waiting there for a few moments. I'm going to have a little talk with your husband next, and I'd prefer that you shouldn't have any opportunity of comparing notes with him as you pass each other in the passage-way ....... Thanks.

: Does Neame usually keep taking notes after people leave the room?


: Good morning, Mr. Jocelyn.

: Good morning, Officer.

: There are just a few more things I want to ask you about the series of events which preceded the discovery of Bolitho Blane's death.

: Right'o, fire away.

: According to your previous statements, you were on deck with Miss Rocksavage when the yacht sailed from Miami. You both went below together, but in your statements the times vary. You say that you came down to your cabin at 7.30, whereas Miss Rocksavage says that you both came down at 7.15. Can you get any nearer to the actual time for me ?

: I don't think so. You know what life is in pleasant company on board a ship. When you're enjoying yourself time goes only too quickly. It's always time to have a swim, or go in to lunch, or change for dinner, or something.

: I see. You find Miss Rocksavage's company very enjoyable then?

: Certainly. She's a very amusing and intelligent young woman and, incidentally, she's my hostess, and so it is her due that I should devote a certain amount of my time to her. In this particular case the duty happens to be a very pleasant one. That's all.

: I see. You can't get nearer to the time you went below than that it might have been 7.15 or it might have been 7.30, then?

: No. If Miss Rocksavage said it was 7.15 I don't doubt she's right.

: Very well, let's agree that was so. You went below at 7.15 and you did not arrive changed in the lounge until 8.30. That is an hour and a quarter. You don't mean to tell me that it took you all that time to change.

: Dear, dear, dear. How pernicketty you policemen are. We went into all this yesterday morning and I told you than that I always take my time changing. Moreover, that I often spend a long time lying in my bath.

: Can you tell me how long you spent in your bath on the evening in question?

: Not exactly, but I was already in it at a quarter to eight because my wife came down from the lounge at that time and I asked her what time it was as she came into the cabin.

: And she told you 7.45? I find that very interesting.

: Why?

: You'll find out friend before this enquiry is over. Now, it was at your invitation that Count Posodini joined this party, wasn't it?

: Yes.

: D'you mind telling me when it was that you tumbled to it that the Count was a crook?

: What the hell d'you mean?

: Just what I say. Count Posodini is known to the police and his intimates as "Slick" Daniels, card sharp and con man, who trades the Atlantic ships. Would you like me to tell you just the sum that "Slick" took off you in the Normandie before you tumbled to it that he was a crook?

: I see. Posodini is a crook and you found him out, then jumped to it that he murdered Blane, so to protect himself, he's faked up some cock and bull story involving me, has he? Well, officer, that won't wash, and you needn't think it will. I had not the least reason in the world to wish any ill to Blane and very fortunately for me, as it happens, my wife can prove that I was lying in my bath at 7.45, when we all know that Blane was still alive from the fact that he scribbled something on the back of the note that was sent down to him at that time.

: How d'you know that?

: Mr. Rocksavage told me and, if you don't mind not interrupting, as I was about to add, my wife having been with me in our suite from 7.45 until we arrived in the lounge at 8.30 together, that proves quite conclusively that I had no hand in Blane's death.

: Does it, Mr. Jocelyn? I wonder. I am quite satisfied that "Slick" didn't do this job. Murder is absolutely outside his line of country, whatever he may have led you to suppose when you had your little talk about Blane in the Normandie.

: I suppose that's another portion of Posodini's cock and bull story.

: Mr. Jocelyn, it happens to have been my job to spend a good portion of my life examining the criminal classes and so officers like myself get a sort of feeling as to when they're telling the truth and when they're not. It's my belief that "Slick" has come clean with me and, in any case, I'm pretty satisfied about his movements during the time under review, so I think you'd better count him out. Now, if we accept his story, it seems that you invited him on board, knowing him to be no better than he should be, and knowing too that he had a definite grudge against Bolitho Blane. He took advantage of your invitation because it gave him the opportunity to mix with a swell crowd where he might have picked up a lot of loose money, but if we're to believe his statement you had far more causes to wish Blane out of the way than he had. You're in a pretty bad spot, Mr. Jocelyn, and I think the time has come when you'd better stop lying and tell the truth.

: You - you're not really suggesting that I murdered Blane, are you?

: I am.

: But - but, this is fantastic. Besides I've already told you that my wife can prove that she found me in my bath at 7.45, and that we were never out of each other's sight from that time on, until we went up to dinner at 8.30.

: I have just advised you to stop lying, Mr. Jocelyn. Your wife did not find you in your bath at 7.45, because she was somewhere else at that time, and for the best best of half an hour onwards. During that time I don't know where you were, but it may quite well have been in Blane's cabin. In fact it's going to look like that unless you can provide some other explanation as to how you were spending your time.

: I was in my bath, I tell you. All I know is that when my wife came into the cabin, I asked her the time and she said that it was 7.45. She may have been wrong. It may have been much later. How the hell do I know.

: If it was much later, that doesn't improve your situation, because you definitely wanted Blane out of the way and, unless you can bring evidence to show what you were doing between 7.45 and 8.15, I must assume that, since you lied to me on other matters, you're lying now, and that you were in Blane's cabin.

: Now, look here, Officer, whether my wife was right or wrong about the time I don't know, but one thing that stands out a mile is that there is a man on board this yacht who had far more reason to wish Blane out of the way than ever I had.

: Who?

: Why, Rocksavage, of course. Two days ago he was bankrupt. Now that Blane's shares have gone to pot, as anybody knew they would the moment he was dead, Rocksavage has been buying every share in the Blane companies as they come on the market. He was picking up Argus Suds at 17¼ yesterday, and Redmeyer Syndicates at 32. He's standing in to make a fortune over this thing, because once Blane's death had been announced he was able to get all the financial backing he needed without the least trouble, whereas nobody would loan him a bob for the last fifteen months. He has the whole of the world soap interest in his pocket to-day. Don't you realise that? And the thing he's got to thank for it is Blane's death.

: Yes, I see that, but there's one point you seem to have forgotten, or perhaps you didn't know it, because you wouldn't have the same opportunity as I've had to check up on these time sheets. Rocksavage did not leave the lounge to go below and change until 8.10 and even then he wasn't back in the lounge until 8.35, five minutes late for dinner. A man could hardly have changed in that time if he had murdered another man and had to dispose of the body and wash a blood stain out of the carpet, too.

: Couldn't he? That's all you know. Rocksavage could. Believe you me.

: Why?

: Only the night before we reached Miami he was prepared to bet anybody that he could change for dinner in under four minutes. The Count, or "Slick" as you call him, took him on. A hundred dollars even money and Rocksavage won the bet. He was back in the lounge changed again under four minutes after he left us. If he could do it then, he could do it again the following night, when somebody put "paid" to Blane's account. If Rocksavage changed in four minutes that night he would still have had twenty minutes free to do Blane in.

: Thank you, Mr. Jocelyn. I find that very interesting. That will be all for the moment.

: If his business fails Carlton Rocksavage can join a circus. Next time: More accusations and Kettering telling people they had plenty of time to squeeze a man into a porthole.