Monday, January 17th. It was Martin Luther King Day, a holiday in the U.S.A. The streets of Manhattan were white with snow and unusually quiet. Many New Yorkers were enjoying a lazy long weekend with their families. But I don’t have a family to spend time with, so I was working by myself at my office on East 43rd Street.
The name’s Nat Marley. I’ve been a private investigator in this city for over ten years. Before that, I was a police officer with the New York Police Department, “an NYPD cop.” The working life of an investigator is rather different from what you see in the movies – I’m not often in danger. Maybe a wife wants to know if her husband’s seeing another woman. Or sometimes I’m looking for a teenager who’s run away from home.
While I was working, I got a phone call.
“Nat Marley speaking,” I said.
“I’m pleased I caught you on a holiday. My name’s Curtis Wilson,” the caller began. “I want to talk with you about a family problem, but not over the phone. Could I see you this afternoon?”