Nor Iron Bars a Cage....

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Excerpt Her red-blond hair was stained and discolored when they found her in the sewer, and her lungs were choked with muck because her killer hadn't bothered to see whether she was really dead when he dumped her body into the manhole, so she had breathed the stuff in with her last gasping breaths. Her face was bruised, covered with great blotches, and three of her ribs had been broken. Her thighs and abdomen had been bruised and lacerated.   If she had lived for three more days, Angela Frances Donahue would have reached her seventh birthday. I didn't see her until she was brought to the morgue. My phone chimed, and when I thumbed it on, the face of Inspector Kleek, of Homicide South, came on the screen. His heavy eyelids always hang at half mast, giving him a sleepy, bored look and the rest of his fleshy face sags in the same general pattern. "Roy," he said as soon as he could see my face on his own screen, "we just found the little Donahue girl. The meat wagon's taking her down to the morgue now. You want to come down here and look over the scene, or you want to go to the morgue? It looks like it's one of your special cases, but we won't know for sure until Doc Prouty does the post on her." I took a firm grip on my temper. I should have been notified as soon as Homicide had been; I should have been there with the Homicide Squad. But I knew that if I said anything, Kleek would just say, "Hell, Roy, they don't notify me until there's suspicion of homicide, and you don't get a call until there's suspicion that it might be the work of a degenerate. That's the way the system works. You know that, Roy." And rather than hear that song-and-dance again, I gave myself thirty seconds to think. "I'll meet you at the morgue," I said. "Your men can get the whole story at the scene without my help." That mollified him, and it showed a little on his face. "O.K., Roy, see you there." And he cut off. I punched savagely at the numbered buttons on the phone to get an intercommunication hookup with Dr. Barton Brownlee's office, on the third floor of the same building as my own office. His face, when it came on, was a calming contrast to Kleek's.   He's nearly ten years younger than I am, not yet thirty-five, and his handsome, thoughtful face and dark, slightly wavy hair always make me think of somebody like St. Edward Pusey or maybe Albert Einstein. Not that he looks like either one of them, or even that he looks saintly, but he does look like a man who has the courage of his convictions and is calmly, quietly, but forcefully ready to shove what he knows to be the truth down everybody else's throat if that becomes necessary. Or maybe I am just reading into his face what I know to be true about the man himself. "Brownie," I said, "they've found the Donahue girl. Taking her down to the morgue now. Want to come along?" "I don't think so," he said without hesitation. "I'll get all the information I need from the photos and the reports. The man I do want to see is the killer; I need more data, Roy—always more data. The more my boys and I know about these zanies, the more effectively we can deal with them." "I know. O.K.; I've got to run." I cut off, grabbed my hat, and headed out to fulfill my part of the bargain Brownlee and I had once made. "You find 'em," he'd once said, "and I'll fix 'em." So far, that bargain had paid off. I got to the morgue a few minutes after the body was brought in. The man at the front desk looked up at me as I walked in and gave me a bored smile....
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