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Authors: Jonathan Kellerman

Mystery

BOOK: Mystery
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Mystery: An Alex Delaware Novel
Kellerman, Jonathan
Random House Publishing Group (2011)

Few know the city of Los Angeles the way #1 bestselling author and acclaimed suspense master Jonathan Kellerman does. His thrilling novels of psychological drama and criminal detection make the capital of dreams a living, breathing character in all its glamour and infamy. That storied history of fame, seduction, scandal, and murder looms large in
Mystery
, as Alex Delaware finds himself drawn into a twisting, shadowy whodunit that's pure L.A. noir - and vintage Kellerman.
The closing of their favorite romantic rendezvous, the Fauborg Hotel in Beverly Hills, is a sad occasion for longtime patrons Alex Delaware and Robin Castagna. And gathering one last time with their fellow faithful habitués for cocktails in the gracious old venue makes for a bittersweet evening. But even more poignant is a striking young woman - alone and enigmatic among the revelers - waiting in vain in elegant attire and dark glasses that do nothing to conceal her melancholy. Alex can't help wondering what her story is, and whether she's connected to the silent, black-suited bodyguard lingering outside the hotel.
Two days later, Alex has even more to contemplate when police detective Milo Sturgis comes seeking his psychologist comrade's insights about a grisly homicide. To Alex's shock, the brutalized victim is the same beautiful woman whose lonely hours sipping champagne at the Fauborg may have been her last.
But with a mutilated body and no DNA match, she remains as mysterious in death as she seemed in life. And even when a tipster's sordid revelation finally cracks the case open, the dark secrets that spill out could make Alex and Milo's best efforts to close this horrific crime not just impossible but fatal.

 

Books by Jonathan Kellerman

 

FICTION

 

ALEX DELAWARE NOVELS

 

Mystery
(2011)
Deception
(2010)
Evidence
(2009)
Bones
(2008)
Compulsion
(2008)
Obsession
(2007)
Gone
(2006)
Rage
(2005)
Therapy
(2004)
A Cold Heart
(2003)
The Murder Book
(2002)
Flesh and Blood
(2001)
Dr. Death
(2000)
Monster
(1999)
Survival of the Fittest
(1997)
The Clinic
(1997)
The Web
(1996)
Self-Defense
(1995)
Bad Love
(1994)
Devil’s Waltz
(1993)
Private Eyes
(1992)
Time Bomb
(1990)
Silent Partner
(1989)
Over the Edge
(1987)
Blood Test
(1986)
When the Bough Breaks
(1985)

 

OTHER NOVELS

 

True Detectives
(2009)
Capital Crimes
(with Faye Kellerman, 2006)
Twisted
(2004)
Double Homicide
(with Faye Kellerman, 2004)
The Conspiracy Club
(2003)
Billy Straight
(1998)
The Butcher’s Theater
(1988)

 

NONFICTION
With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars
(2008)
Savage Spawn: Reflections on Violent Children
(1999)
Helping the Fearful Child
(1981)
Psychological Aspects of Childhood Cancer
(1980)

 

FOR CHILDREN, WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED
Jonathan Kellerman’s ABC of Weird Creatures
(1995)
Daddy, Daddy, Can You Touch the Sky?
(1994)

 

Mystery
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Copyright © 2011 by Jonathan Kellerman

 

All rights reserved.

 

Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

 

B
ALLANTINE
and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Kellerman, Jonathan.
Mystery: an Alex Delaware novel/Jonathan Kellerman.
p. cm.
eISBN: 978-0-345-52438-6
1. Delaware, Alex (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Sturgis, Milo (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 3. Forensic psychologists—Fiction. 4. Police—California—Los Angeles—Fiction. 5. Los Angeles (Calif.)—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3561.E3865M97 2011
813′.54—dc22      2010053031

 

www.ballantinebooks.com

 

Jacket design: Scott Biel
Jacket image (car and storefront): Shutterstock/Konstantin Sutyagin

 

v3.1

 

This one’s for
Kim Hovey
.

 

Contents

 

Cover

Other Books by This Author

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

About the Author

 

 

ike a con man on the run, L.A. buries its past.

Maybe that’s why no one argued when the sentence came down: The Fauborg had to die.

I live in a company town where the product is illusion. In the alternate universe ruled by sociopaths who make movies, communication means snappy dialogue, the scalpel trumps genetics, and permanence is mortal sin because it slows down the shoot.

L.A. used to have more Victorian mansions than San Francisco but L.A. called in the wrecking ball and all that handwork gave way to thirties bungalows that yielded to fifties dingbats, which were vanquished, in turn, by big-box adult dormitories with walls a toddler can put a fist through.

Preservationists try to stem the erosion but end up fighting for the likes of gas stations and ticky-tack motels. Money changes hands, zoning laws are finessed, and masterpieces like the Ambassador Hotel dissolve like wrinkles shot with Botox.

The Fauborg Hotel was no Ambassador but it did have its charm. Four somber stories of Colonial brick-face, it sat on a quiet block of Crescent Drive in Beverly Hills, wedged between a retirement home and a dry cleaner. A short walk but a psychic universe from the Eurotrash cafés of Canon Drive and the shopping frenzy on Beverly and Rodeo, the Fauborg appeared in few guidebooks but managed to boast one of the highest occupancy rates in the city.

Built in 1949 by a French Holocaust survivor, its design aped the mansions in the American movies that had transfixed Marcel Jabotinsky as a teenager. Jabotinksy’s first guests were other postwar émigrés seeking peace and quiet. That same desire for low-key serenity continued with the hotel’s clientele, divided between the genteel grandparents of Eurotrash and the odd knowledgeable American willing to trade glitz and edgy and ironic for a decent night’s sleep.

I knew the Fauborg because I drank there. The lounge at the back was smallish and dim with nothing to prove, paneled in dark rift oak and hung with middling Barbizon landscapes. The eighty-year-old hunchback behind the bar concocted the best Sidecar in town and Robin likes Sidecars. An assortment of pianists, mostly former studio musicians on pension, worked the big black Steinway in the left-hand corner, never intruding upon the pleasant buzz of conversation and the harmonious clink of crystal glasses. The staff was attentive without being nosy, the snacks were decent, and you left the place feeling as if you’d been recivilized.

Robin and I spent a lot of Sunday evenings in a cracked leather rear booth, holding hands, nibbling on cheese crackers, and inhaling Gershwin.

One Saturday morning in the spring, Robin was delivering a new guitar to an aging rock star who lived in the flats of Beverly Hills and the drive took her past the Fauborg. A sign strung up over the fanlight announced:

LAST NIGHT TOMORROW:
COME CELEBRATE—OR MOURN—WITH US.
THANKS FOR THE GOOD TIMES.
The Family of Marcel Jabotinsky

 

Robin shouldn’t have been surprised; the previous week we’d shown up at a Thai place we’d enjoyed for half a decade only to find an abyss surrounded by chain-link where the building had stood. The month before that, she’d run into an old high school friend and asked how her husband was.

“Which one?”

“Jeff.”

The woman laughed. “Jeff’s ancient history, sweetie. Cliff’s recent history but he’s gone, too.”

Tissue paper city.

Robin said, “Not much of a choice, is it? Surrender to the inevitable or risk a whole bunch of mawkish nostalgia.”

We sat on the living room couch with Blanche, our little French bulldog, squeezed between us and following the back-and-forth.

I said, “I can go either way.”

She pulled on a curl, let it spring back. “What the heck, I’ll never get a Sidecar that good and it’s a chance to put on a dress.”

“I’ll wear a suit.”

“I like you in a suit, darling. But not the black one. Let’s pretend it won’t be a funeral.”

Who knew?

BOOK: Mystery
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