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A Difficult Murder

A Difficult Murder

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A Difficult Murder

73 Seiten
1 Stunde
Feb 13, 2014


'A Difficult Murder' is an exciting, unusual account of a killing told by a britsh htman livin in new York. The successful job has consequences that could not have been foretold and result in new lives for everyone involved.

Feb 13, 2014

Über den Autor

Paul Underwood died in 2010 of Mesothelioma. He was a wonderful man, full of humour and compassion and much loved. Although he was an artist and taught art and painted for many years, whilst he was ill he discovered a love of writing and poured out words when he was no longer able to paint. He wrote several stories, short and long. 'A Difficult Murder' is the first of these to be published.

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A Difficult Murder - Paul Underwood


A Novella by Paul Underwood

Edited by Julia Underwood

Editor’s Note

The first draft of this novella was written by my late husband, Paul Underwood, in the months before he died of Mesothelioma in 2010. He produced several works of fiction in the time when he was terminally ill, typing furiously day after day as if he was desperate to get the words out before the disease engulfed him. I hope to continue re-editing his work for eBook publication and more stories will, I hope, be available in time.

After expenses, proceeds from these books will be donated to the Mesothelioma Society UK and to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Published by Julia Underwood at Smashwords

Copyright 2014 Julia Underwood

This novella is a work of fiction. The names, characters and

incidents portrayed in it are the work of the writer’s imagination.

Any resemblance to any real people, living or dead, is coincidental

Chapter One

The Mark

Killing Maxie Sterris was never going to be easy.

For a start he was one of the most visible people on the streets of Brooklyn and he was also one of the most voluble. From the moment that he emerged each morning from whatever hellhole he slept in, Maxie did not stop talking. He also, and this was more to the point, never stopped sticking his snout into everybody else’s business. Maxie could not pass a shop door of a morning without opening it and shouting some unsolicited piece of trash advice at the poor owner within, who like most shopkeepers at that time of the morning, was probably just trying to read the paper undisturbed with their morning cup of coffee.

Maxie was a bit player who didn’t amount to much. To most people he was a pain in the arse that they did their best to avoid, whilst Maxie, despite their best endeavours, tried to befriend them. He treated everybody as if they should be delighted to see him, all ‘hail fellow well met’, except that is, the latest members of the community to have made it onto Maxie’s hate list. It did not take much to achieve this status because Maxie was able to perceive slights where none were intended, as in many cases the person concerned was not even aware that Maxie was listening to the conversation which gave such offence. In the words of Toll Vegas, Maxie was a right royal pain in the arse.

What Toll thought mattered, because Toll Vegas was one of the big players in Brooklyn and particularly as in this case; it was Toll who had commissioned me to get rid of Maxie Sterris. This was quite a promotion for me as Toll had never employed me in this line of work before and in any event he was not the sort of person that you refused.

Maxie spent his days scurrying round the streets running numbers, passing and collecting bets and exchanging scurrilous gossip on which he had no real inside information. He just picked up bits and pieces of tittle-tattle in his travels and passed it on as Gospel. This on its own would normally be a dangerous occupation, but Maxie combined it with a really dangerous sickness, he was an inveterate gambler. Being the ducker and diver that he was, and given his propensity for not paying on time, Maxie frequently changed bookmakers. He also had an innate tendency towards vicious arguments, particularly as to the nature of the last losing bet. This, of course, led to many close encounters and closed accounts.

Normally none of this would have mattered much since Maxie was hardly a big player, but on the one occasion that he decided to try to be one, finding himself without a bookmaker, he stupidly chose Toll Vegas. Or rather, not having the cash available to place the size of bet that he would have liked to place on the outsider in a boxing match, he deliberately made a brazen declaration within the hearing of both Toll Vegas and Skull.

‘The bookies have got it all wrong,’ Maxie asserted, ‘this time, anyway. I’ll offer odds of six to four on on the favourite if he wins.’

Since everybody else in town made the boy an odds-on favourite, this wager was a no-brainer for Toll who, as he was already carrying masses of cash on the favourite to win, called Maxie’s bluff with alacrity. He promptly placed five large ones, cash, into Maxie’s hand on the understanding that, should the favourite win, Maxie would return seven and a half grand to Toll plus his original five grand stake money, making a grand total of twelve and a half K to be returned in, as Toll laughingly called it, the unlikely event of a win by the favourite.

The favourite, incidentally, was an old school, street style fighter by the name of Rocky Masco, or Rocky ‘The Machine’ Masco as he was billed. Twenty six fights, twenty five wins, twenty three by straight knockouts inside the distance, two wins on points, and one extremely dubious draw which everybody present at the fight gave in his favour in any event. The point was that he had never lost a fight. True, there were one or two, and presumably Maxie was one of them, who said that he was slowing down a bit, but in general everybody agreed that when you got hit by Rocky you stayed hit. On this occasion he was fighting a farmer’s boy from Nebraska with a distinctly less glorious record although he had apparently improved of late. He was however, extremely large, standing well over six feet tall and built like the proverbial brick shithouse.

Now personally, in my experience of studying such things over the years, when bookmakers make a fighter favourite, whatever he or his opponent might look like, they, the bookmakers that is, are rarely wrong when it comes to judging boxing. I pass that on for what it is worth. Furthermore, I would not have entered into any type of business arrangement with Toll Vegas that involved me owing him

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