Snifter of Death: Chris Karlsen
Revenge is sometimes sweet and at other times can backfire if you are not prepared to handle the consequences. When someone’s past becomes her present Graciela becomes obsessed with taking down several young men, now adults for a past deed that she cannot forgive. Raping a young 14 year old for sport because these four young men felt she was vulnerable and worthless, hardened her over the years. Tracking down each one would be her goal but not before we get to know Mrs. Zachery who older woman who hired her as her lady’s companion, her staff and the rigid rules that Graciela was supposed to follow but managed to skirt. But, in order to create her plan she needed the help of a criminal named Newt Addy known for his skills in picking locks, skirting out his mark so why does she wind up in the police station talking to a sergeant about his very man? Graciela bailed him out of jail so that he could tell her how to pick locks and scout our her mark unseen.
Meet Detectives Bloodstone and Holbrook who are about to get the weirdest case yet. Talking about what happened to a young girl named Miss Janes who was attacked by someone and inappropriately touched but not before he stole her stockings. But, why? Reenter Graciela who decided to hide her real identity by insisting that a newsboy give her his shirt and pants in order to pull off the murders she has in mind. Going to a church to see a Vicar she hoped to learn more about the Cross family and her mark Cross.
Jameson is the Superintendent and both Holbrook and Bloodstone have to clear everything with him. Presenting the sketch of the man who touched the woman they will now find there are other women who were attacked but will they finally stop this person before it spreads to other places? Added in we meet Will, Ruddy’s brother who has a thing for women and puts him in a bad position when he decides to tag along on his cases and his recreational time. Will joins his brother at Morris Thornley’s bar and the discuss the fact that he wants to date the latest stocking victim. Within the police station they come up with a unique plan to capture this guy who has hit at least three unsuspecting women by having several officers kitted out in dresses and hopefully trapping this person before he gets anyone else. They also go to other precincts hoping that they will share information and help cross check their cases but that leads us to another unusual part of this multi-complex plot.
The Vicar who was wise to her ways sent Graciela away and she went back to the drudgery of searching for Cross herself but when she does come behind his townhouse she finalizes her plan and the murder weapon is POISON! But, first a lesson in picking locks and more from Addy her friendly burglar.
Going to another precinct Ruddy meets up with his nemesis Napier who is more concerned with beating him in an inter-precinct boxing match than solving the case of the groper and of course what will be a murder case to rock their world. Meet the first victim as Graciela manages to find her way into his presence and using the decanter of cognac she spike with arsenic and waits for her victim to come and when he does he gets his final drink. The author describes the event in detail and his demise as she relishes in her delight at finally getting what she thinks is justice for what he took part in when she was just 14. Moving on to the next victim.
First, our two detectives have to investigate the murder of Cross and enter his home met by Desmond who is in charge of the staff and who has worked with for a long time. The police divulge to him that they are doing a formal autopsy to see what caused his death and Desmond being astute challenges the police thinking that something triggered the man’s death and demands they tell him in person if the murder weapon was poison. Cross’s life they say looks fairly normal but wait until they did into his past or if and when they meet Graciela.
The end result the snifter or decanter of cognac was tainted and Desmond got the news delivered in person that he was right. Interviewing the staff did not help even the stable boy would not provide any help so who killed him and why?
Meet Honeysuckle Flowers the new love interest of Rudyard Bloodstone. She is a performer on stage and quite popular and for some reason he has taken a fancy to her adding some romance and humor to the novel.
Talking about the rules for the boxing business takes away for a short and distracts both detectives because each one wants to safe face but who will win when the day comes that they have no more excuses and must fight?
Next our Graciela finds her way to the office of Mr. Skinner her next victim and manages to get into his office, pointing her gun in his face, getting rid of his clerk and insisting he pour himself a drink. Thinking she wants money he offered her as much as she wanted but reminding him of his past and the fact that she did not report it to the police makes her lose credibility but does not stop her from offing this man. Two cases of poisoning and no suspects yet as now they have to attempt to connect Cross and Skinner who both availed themselves of the prostitute Violet’s services but was she connected? Why did she kill Skinner in his office and who would finally if at all come forward to connect the murders to Graciela?
Talking with Mr. Smiley who is the bank president where the two detectives went next to speak to him about Skinner’s account and whether he had any debts yet this man stated he won’t give out information keeping client information private. However, since they were investigating a double murder they were not going to allow him to stonewall them and although he threatened to write or go to Jameson it did not faze them one bit. These two detectives are great they take no prisoners so to speak and manage to get the job done. However, the next scene reminds us of the duel between Napier and Bloodstone and the prize for the winner. Words threatened, threats spoken but who will the victor be?
We move to the scenes with Honeysuckle Flowers who proves to be an asset when she mentions one thing that sets him on the road to possibly finding the killer but Graciela is far from done. Dr. Fitch is next and she went to his office pretending to have availed herself of Dr. Fitzhugh who is her bosses doctor claiming he is mishandling her headaches. But, this doctor has scruples and does not want to deal with her but somehow she manages to wangle an appointment and realizes that the doctor and his Nurse Keating might be more than doctor and nurse. Not that she cares but what happens next and who gets the next poison cocktail will change the game she is playing into a more dangerous situation.
The stocking stalker or the guy who has the fetish well the end result will surprise readers but the main thrust of this novel is to stop the arsenic killings while Ruddy or Rudyard was being trained by a man named Tony in a local gym to hopefully cremate Napier when they finally face off in a fight that he is considered the underdog. While Graciela watched and stalked Fitch and he would be a good test she thought to see if the hospital staff would even realize her motives for wanting to volunteer yet the nurse on duty for some reason allowed her to enter the rooms of many of the children and women who needed help and seemed helpless but the end result is did the nurse really think she was there to help? The investigation moves slowly until someone gives the police detectives a link to Graciela but will they get there in time or will someone else be victim to her rage or revenge? Sometimes even a killer can be blindsided and surprised by the end result. Will Rudyard and Archie stop what someone wants to continue one more time? Will Honeysuckle and Ruddy continue their relationship?
When the fight takes place the end result will shock readers when the face off occurs and two detectives battle it out while one killer thinks she might go free but author Chris Karlsen throws in a twist at the end and a definitely surprise when the final curtain is lowered and the ending is revealed but beware the next time you go to a bar or accept a drink make sure you pour it or you too might be a victim of A SNIFTER OF DEATH!